March 9th, 2004
Eyman proposes gambling-for-tax cuts scheme
Tim Eyman’s new plan to add to the state’s list of woes involves a $400 million state property tax cut. Eyman says education would be shielded, but that claim is as phony as Eyman himself.
He’s proposing to pay off the $400 million cut, which would have been deflected onto criminal justice and other state programs, by opening up the rest of the state to gambling. It’s an idea so pitiful it goes below the legislature’s half-hearted plans to fix our state’s regressive tax system.
The latest plan, a complete disgrace, just serves to prove the profligate initiative filer is all about announcing and not about doing. For the past ten months, Eyman has done nothing but announce new plans and shake his electronic tin cup.
Last June he said his intention was go after state property taxes. In the meantime, he was busy collecting money for himself. In December, he announced a new version of his 25% property tax slashing plan: local property taxes, not state property taxes, would be targeted. Since then, he’s supposedly been working on Initiative 864. And now, he announces he plans to attack state and local property taxes – and use expanded gambling to cover the costs of cutting the former.
Eyman doesn’t produce results for his supporters. He has had no successful initiative since 2002. And his plans slash millions of dollars from parks, libraries, pools, police, & fire response.
Real savings from reduced taxes equal real cuts, and at the local level, the cuts are direct. What’s the great thing about saving a couple hundred dollars a year if your local fire station is forced to shut down?
Eyman never mentions that insurance rates could also rise if Initiative 864 is passed. He also never takes note that his initiative badly hurts the local governments that are already doing an efficient job. And he proposes to jack up gambling to pay for his latest idea.
The two-part tax-cut drive is not much of a new twist for Eyman. He’s changed his story so many times that it’s more like a ten part plan, with each part of the plan changing the part that came before. The new plan would only add to the woes now facing Washington State. Eyman would have us believe that we’d be better off laying off local firefighters and policemen and saving money, but he’s wrong.
Eyman’s constant mantra about government waste, corruption, and inefficiency is tiring and old. Year after year, it’s the same laundry list of complaints: Sound Transit, vehicle tabs, property taxes, the state Legislature, and on and on.
The new initiative will not shield education. It’s a lie that is so pathetic, it’s hard to describe. Schools are hardly shielded when funding for libraries, pools, parks, and extra curricular programs is slashed.
Education is more than just school. Kids need support outside of school, especially kids in need of help. And the money that will “save” education will come from prisons and the criminal justice system.
Is Seattle destined to be the Las Vegas of the Northwest? If Eyman has his way, Washington will transform into a lawless society like Haiti where a powerless government can do nothing to serve or protect its citizens, or another Reno/Las Vegas, the “sin capital of the world.”
Initiative 864 and his new plan will not create new jobs. His plan will, in fact, cut jobs. Washington has a regressive tax system, but Tim’s initiatives just make an already broken system worse.
The reason that Kemper Freeman Jr. and the Lemattas of Vancouver give money to Eyman is because the initiatives give huge windfalls to wealthy property owners. Both the Lemattas and Freeman own a lot of property.
Don’t let Tim Eyman and Voters Want More Choices deceive you. There is no free lunch. A 25% property tax cut, and a state property tax cut to boot, is madness and insanity. It will break more than it will fix.
There is no benefit in having less firemen and policemen on patrol. There is no way to make up for library cutbacks, park closures, and mothballed pools. The cuts that would result from Initiative 864 would be so sweeping, so drastic, that there would be no way to plug them.