Initiative 1033: This boat won’t float.

September 1, 2009 | Aaron Keating

People may disagree about whether Washington’s ship of state should tack to port or starboard. But Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033, if approved by voters this fall, is the equivalent of drilling holes in the hull and going down with the ship.

I-1033 would cap state and local revenue growth according to a rigid formula based on population growth and inflation. It is very similar to an initiative called TABOR (short for “Taxpayer Bill of Rights”) adopted by Colorado voters in 1992 and suspended in 2005.

TABOR drilled so many holes in Colorado’s public structures, residents of the state still haven’t been able to bail out, even years later. A few highlights, from Washington State Budget and Policy Center’s comparison of I-1033 and TABOR:

  • Education: The economic boom of the 1990’s and early 2000’s allowed many states to increase education funding. TABOR forced Colorado to make deep cuts. In 1991-92, Colorado ranked 35th in state and local K-12 spending as a share of personal income. As of 2006 it ranked 48th. Public universities were hit too: between 1995 and 2005, higher education funding per resident student declined by 31 percent after adjusting for inflation, from $5,188 to $3,564.
  • Health: Colorado drastically scaled back its Medicaid program, leaving a system that provides only the bare minimum of services required by the federal government. In 1992, Colorado ranked 23rd in the nation with regard to adequacy and access to prenatal health care. By 2001, the state’s ranking had fallen to 48th.
  • Transportation: Under TABOR, Colorado’s investments in roads, highways, and other structures that are vital to the state’s economic growth waned. The state now ranks 48th in the nation in spending on highways as a share of personal income.

When it comes to taxes, Washington’s ship is definitely in need of repair. We can retrofit it. We can even build a new boat. But I-1033 just scuttles the ship while we’re sailing it.

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Posted in Education, Higher Education, State Economy, Tax and Budget

Comments

  1. Steve Zemke says:

    Initiative 1033 is a a no growth measure. It attempts to freeze public spending.

    The Washington State Office of Financial Management says that Initiative 1033 would severely impact state and local government.

    In their words “The initiative reduces state general fund revenues that support education, social, health and environmental services; and general government activities by an estimated $5.9 billion by 2015. The initiative also reduces general fund revenues that support public safety, infrastructure and general government activities by an estimated $694 million for counties and $2.1 billion for cities by 2015”

    This is the impact Tim doesn’t want you to see. Read it yourself.

    see http://ofm.wa.gov/initiatives/i-1033_fiscal_impact.pdf

    Vote NO on I-1033!

  2. Tandy says:

    Scare tactics won’t work anymore. Neither will twisting, lies and deception. Washington State has misled the people many, many times.

    The TABOR initiative in Colorado was absolutely not a disaster – check with people in Colorado. They did suspend it for a period of time but refused to get rid of it. In fact, it goes right back into effect this next year which totally squashes the argument comparing TABOR to I-1033.

    Likewise, 1033 does not freeze state spending or county spending or city spending. Anti-1033 forces are badly distorting the truth.

    Look up the contributors and supporters. Anti-1033 folks are unions and only a tiny handful of individuals. Pro-1033 folks are thousands of inidividuals. Don’t let unions run the state and muscle the legislature to take more tax money away from everyone else for their own selfish benefit.

    AND GUESS WHAT ELSE THEY’RE NOT TELLING YOU – as soon as this election is over the legislature and Gregoire want to eliminate the 60% requirement to increase taxes because the 2-year “hands off” period is about to expire. Plus Gregoire has already declared support for INCREASING property taxes. Governor Gargoyle and the legislature are ready to do what the unions tell them – don’t give them the chance.

    • To borrow a line from a well-known dairy marketing campaign: Got proof?

      Fact: These Coloradans definitely think TABOR was a bad idea for their state.

      Fact: I-1033 caps revenue at today’s recession-era levels. So by definition it limits spending to those same low levels.

      Fact: Current projections estimate nearly $6 billion in lost state revenue, and another $2.8 billion loss for cities and counties.

      Fact: I-1033 replaces decision-making by our representative government with a one-size fits none population plus inflation formula.

      Fact: I-1033 rebates are based on the value of the property, so high-value property owners (i.e., commercial real estate, multimillion dollar properties) will receive the biggest rebate checks. Renters will receive nothing. Low- and middle-value property owners will see something…low to middling.

      Fact: Opposition to I-1033 comes from educators, firefighters, business owners, nurses, elected leaders, and many, many others. Like Bill Gates.

      The bottom line: I-1033 will limit our collective ability to invest in economic growth and business development, improvements to K-12 education, health care for seniors, affordable colleges and technical schools, new transportation networks…the list goes on…to recession-level spending levels.

      It’s just not sound public policy.

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