I-1033 brings back successful policies passed by the voters previously. In 1993, during tough economic times, voters approved Initiative 601 which put reasonable limits on government’s fiscal policies. I-601 established a sustainable rate for government to grow, saying it could grow at the inflation rate plus population growth with faster growth requiring voter approval.
And I-601 worked very well for 12 years until 2005 when Gov. Christine Gregoire and the Democrats got rid of its growth limit. Removing I-601’s reasonable fiscal discipline and policies resulted directly in a massive $9 billion deficit.
Repealing I-601’s limit in 2005 allowed them to take their budget on a fiscal roller coaster, overextending themselves in good times — creating unsustainable budgets — which inevitably made the bad times even worse. I-1033 gets us off that fiscal roller coaster by re-establishing I-601’s same reasonable allowance for growth while permitting higher increases with voter approval.
I-601 worked, it can work again with the passage of I-1033.
So what happens to excess tax revenues that government collects above I-1033’s limit? First, a fixed percentage of tax revenue is transferred into the constitutionally-protected rainy day fund. Beyond that, the remainder of excess tax revenues gets refunded back to taxpayers via lower property taxes. Under I-1033, everyone’s property taxes will be reduced. Struggling working families and fixed-income senior citizens desperately need relief from our state’s crushing property tax burden. I-1033 provides needed, long-overdue property tax relief.
Opponents are against I-1033 because it allows the people, and not the politicians, to decide how fast the government should grow and how big a tax burden we can afford. Opponents ignore the 16 years of positive history with Initiative 601 in Washington state, preferring instead to talk about different tax limits in California, Colorado and other states.
Property taxes keep going higher and higher and government keeps getting bigger and bigger. The people are losing control. I-1033 allows the state, counties, and cities to grow, but at a rate that citizens can control and taxpayers can afford. I-1033 gets government off the fiscal roller coaster, allowing it to grow at a sustainable rate that doesn’t outpace taxpayers’ ability to afford it.
I-1033 is needed now more than ever.
Tim Eyman is co-sponsor of the Lower Property Taxes Initiative I-1033 and heads up Voters Want More Choices, a grassroots taxpayer protection organization, 425-493-8707, email@example.com, www.VotersWantMoreChoices.com