Tag Archives: I-1033

Eyman trying to pull another fast one: Under I-1033 there would be no growth to manage

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

Tim Eyman is trying to pull another fast one.

In a message sent out this afternoon to his supporters and copied to the media, the Mukilteo initiative profiteer dismissed critiques of his latest initiative, I-1033, as “absurd”, without actually providing any cogent counter-arguments. Instead, he merely cited a chart with a couple of lines on it, and stated (in part):

This graph shows that I-1033’s opponents are laughably inaccurate when they talk about ‘cuts in government’ or ‘slashed budgets’ under I-1033 Their Chicken Little, sky-is-falling statements about I-1033 are ridiculous in light of this graph which tracks the growth of government under I-1033.

Actually, what’s ridiculous is that someone who is asking voters to trust his authorship of a change to state law would have the audacity to suggest that a couple of lines on a chart prove there’s nothing to worry about, and offer no further elaboration.

As anyone who has taken basic math knows, data is easily manipulated. The chart that Eyman linked to is  from a Washington Research Council brief and does not even attempt to examine the harm that Initiative 1033 would inflict. However, the text of the brief – which Eyman did not link to or properly cite – does talk about the fiscal harm, although analytically rather than critically. Here’s an excerpt:

Even without passage of I-1033, the budget outlook for 2011–13 is grim. While the 2009 legislature did make substantial real cuts in spending, it also relied heavily on onetime money to balance the 2009–11 budget. Incorporating the June forecast, general fund spending for the biennium exceeds revenues by $1.4 billion. In addition, $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funds are being used to sustain programs that would normally be funded through the general fund. For 2011–13 these programs will shift back to the general fund.

Using OFM’s revenue growth assumptions, general fund revenues are expected to grow by $3.5 billion from 2009–11 to 2011–13.

We have yet to see projections of “maintenance-level” cost increases for 2011–13. Looking backwards, the maintenance level increase for the 2007-09 biennium was $1.4 billion, while the maintenance level increase for 2009-11 was $2.1 billion.

With a $1.4 billion maintenance level increase, the budget gap for 2011–13 would be $1.8 billion; with a $2.1 billion maintenance level increase the gap would be $2.5 billion. I-1033 would expand these gaps to $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively.

The full brief – not a clipping of a chart – is available at the Research Council’s site.

Note the Council’s use of the phrase “maintenance level” cost increases. That refers to what is necessary to sustain the level of services that we already have. I-1033, as noted, widens the gaps. Another, and better way to put it: Initiative 1033 creates artificial deficits.

The key point that Eyman doesn’t want anybody to understand is that revenue growth does not equal growth of government. This is because, over time, the cost of providing essential services (which is the purpose and function of government) goes up, and can easily outpace revenue growth. If revenue growth isn’t keeping up with demand for services, then service levels can’t be maintained, let alone increased.

Initiative 1033 does not “manage” growth of services, it prevents any to begin with. That is the whole point. Grover Norquist clones like Tim Eyman seek to drown government in a bathtub.

I-1033 deliberately prohibits any available revenue from being invested in schools, parks, police and fire protection, etc. beyond what was invested the year before… with a small and lame amount of padding that supposedly accounts for inflation and population growth.

The reality is that there are many additional factors that cause the cost of services to rise year to year.

Commercial development, ironically, is perhaps the best example. If a business opens a new warehouse somewhere (a large building with a large impact on the community), that warehouse is going to need to be hooked up to utilities (sewer, water, electricity). Whatever municipality it is built in will also have to protect it from break-ins and fires, and will also have to pay for any wear and tear to the roads caused by vehicles going to and from the warehouse. Commercial development has a huge impact on the cost of services, yet Initiative 1033 pretends that it doesn’t.

Then there’s emergency preparedness and disaster response. Initiative 1033 doesn’t account for these factors either. It doesn’t give the state the fiscal flexibility to respond to a tsunami or a lahar, let alone put in place warning and evacuation systems that could save lives in the event of catastrophe.

Those are merely two examples.

Because it freezes services, Initiative 1033 will, over time, slowly ravage our communities. What business out there does not rely on the essential services our government provides to engage in commerce? None. All businesses depend on the basic infrastructure sustained by we the taxpayers to prosper. If that infrastructure is gutted or even neglected, it will harm business (and especially small business) thereby trapping our economy in a permanent recession.

A vote for Initiative 1033 is a vote in favor of gradually destroying our quality of life… that is NOT an exaggeration. This is an incredibly destructive, shortsighted, and cynical initiative with an attractive surface allure, hawked and marketed by Tim Eyman. Washington must reject it this November.

Washington NOT eighth highest taxed state, Permanent Defense calls on Tim Eyman to stop misleading the public

Rethinking and Reframing

Permanent Defense, a project of the Northwest Progressive Institute founded in 2002 to neutralize attacks on Washington’s quality of life, today called on professional initiative profiteeer Tim Eyman to stop misleading the public and distorting the truth about Washington State’s tax structure.

In a post authored on the Northwest Progressive Institute’s principal publication, the NPI Advocate, NPI’s executive director, Andrew Villeneuve, skewered Eyman’s ongoing and false claim that Washington is one of the highest taxed states in the nation.

Every year Tim Eyman makes a big deal out of claiming the sky is falling and the people of Washington are overtaxed compared to residents of other states.

Some years Eyman has claimed we’re the fourth highest taxed state; other years he has claimed we’re the second highest. Now it’s the eighth highest.

Somehow, despite the implementation of two of his terrible initiatives by the Legislature – which have destroyed billions of dollars in funding for public services – we have remained in his mythical top ten.

NPI/Permanent Defense request that journalists not print or reproduce in any way Eyman’s claims as facts. Eyman’s email this evening should be treated as discredited hyperbole not fit for public consumption.

The Washington State Department of Revenue has already released a statement calling the rankings that Eyman refers to misleading:

The only accurate way to compare tax burdens is by comparing both state and local taxes among states. By that measure, Washington ranks 19th-highest per capita and 35th-highest in taxes as a percentage of personal income.

Economists generally prefer measuring as a percentage of personal income because it takes into account economic activity and demand for services. Rankings have become a popular staple among certain national publications, but they can be misleading. The most recent Forbes ranking is one of those.

Permanent Defense’s initial analysis of Initiative 1033 may be found in the PD archives.

Permanent Defense responds to Eyman’s submission of signatures for jobs killing Initiative 1033

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

This morning in Olympia, professional initiative profiteer Tim Eyman submitted signatures for his latest scheme to wreck Washington – Initiative 1033, which would result in job losses across The Evergreen State.

“Our economy is extraordinarily fragile right now,” noted Northwest Progressive Institute Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve. (Permanent Defense is a project of the Northwest Progressive Institute). “Initiative 1033 would wipe out any chance of a quick recovery from this recession by destroying jobs across our state.”

If Initiative 1033 passes, cities and counties will have no choice but to start laying off public servants – if they haven’t already.

Such layoffs would not only weaken public services and our quality of life, but they would cause a ripple effect. A rise in unemployment, especially in Washington’s small towns, would further destabilize the economy and only lead to more competition for a scarce number of new jobs that don’t pay as well.

“Washingtonians need to understand that Initiative 1033 is a jobs killer,” Villeneuve added. “It’s a cynical, destructive idea that would wreak havoc on our communities. The pain that so many are feeling now from the Legislature’s dehumanizing budget cuts would be cruelly extended and deepened with the passage of Initiative 1033.”

“We simply cannot afford for this measure to pass. That’s why Permanent Defense, along with a wide and diverse coalition of other organizations fighting for the public interest, will be working hard in the weeks and months ahead to ensure that the people of this great state know the consequences of Initiative 1033.”

Permanent Defense responds to Eyman’s 2009 anti-prosperity initiative

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

The Northwest Progressive Institute today responded to the filing of Tim Eyman’s anti-prosperity initiative for 2009 in Olympia by announcing it will vigorously oppose the measure through its Permanent Defense project. I-1033, if it became law, would have a horrific impact on Washington State.

“Washingtonians have a long and cherished tradition of pooling our resources and working together for shared prosperity,” NPI Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve remarked. “This initiative would destroy our common wealth, making it almost impossible for us to improve our schools, create new jobs, or provide healthcare to children who aren’t covered.”

Villeneuve explained that Eyman’s measure would have a detrimental impact because it would paralyze government’s ability to respond to the basic needs of the people by imposing an ill-conceived, artificial limit on spending.

“Our democratic government, which belongs to each of us, exists so that we can do for ourselves collectively what we can’t accomplish alone,” Villeneuve added. “Revitalizing our economy and rebuilding our infrastructure will take a team effort. We need our government to be there for us in these tough economic times. Washington must reject this cynical and shameless attack on our future.”

NPI and its Permanent Defense division, which opposes misguided and harmful initiatives in Washington State, are initiating research into Eyman’s 2009 measure to learn more about the specific harm it would do to neighborhoods across the Evergreen State. Research will begin immediately.

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