Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mainstream Republicans of Washington oppose Tim Eyman's Initiative 1033

On Thursday, Daniel authored a great post about conservative opposition to Tim Eyman's jobs-killing Initiative 1033. A reader who saw that post wrote in to remind us that the Mainstream Republicans have also taken a position against the measure. The Mainstream Republicans are a group of biconceptuals who associate with the Republican Party. (A biconceptual is a person whose views are comprised of a mix of progressive and conservative thought).

Here's their statement opposing Initiative 1033:
Mainstream Republicans urges voters to vote "No" on I-1033. Although Mainstream acknowledges that legislatures [sic] have failed to control the growth in spending, we believe that I-1033’s meat axe approach to revenue/appropriations reform is irresponsible. The remedy proposed by I-1033 is worse than the problem it purports to fix.
Conservatives we're hearing from agree. Here's a comment sent in by Joanne:
Is there a phone bank, sign-waving campaign, or something I can do to help? I am a Republican, and somewhat conservative. This tax measure in the middle of a recession is dangerous. I would like more information on the damage that a similiar initiative had on Colorado.
Colorado passed an initiative similiar to I-1033 many years ago, and it has been nothing short of a huge disaster, as I explained back in August:
How do we know I-1033 is going to be awful? We can look at what’s happened in Colorado, where a similar measure has caused predictable and disastrous results.

Consider El Paso County, home to the City of Colorado Springs.

Thanks to Colorado’s I-1033, the health department there does not have enough people to inspect restaurants and other food providers biannually as state law requires.

On March 1, the Denver Post reported, “Department director Kandi Buckland said it’s no coincidence that ‘in 2008, preliminary data showed El Paso County had the largest number of food-borne illness’ in the state.”

No health inspectors means no health inspections, and no health inspections means that nobody is ensuring that the food restaurants serve is safe to eat. Nor is the county regularly inspecting its pools. Last year, according to the Post, its remaining staff were forced to close 80 of them. Six were infected with e-coli.

County offices are typically closed on Fridays, and the sheriff’s office has resorted to parking its cruisers and waiting for calls to come in when gas prices are high.

This is just a taste of what we can expect if I-1033 passes in November.
Initiative 1033 is not just extremely dangerous, it's also massively unfair, because it redirects sales taxes to pay for a special property tax cut for the rich. Homeowners would get ripped off and renters would be completely scammed. We'd all lose out on services, but the only people getting any significant money back would be Washingtonians who have already amassed significant wealth, like Eyman donor Kemper Freeman Jr., who owns "The Bellevue Collection".

Also agreeing with the Mainstream Republicans' position against 1033 are two conservative elected leaders from Spokane County, who were mentioned in the Spokesman-Review's editorial against Eyman's jobs-killing scheme:
All in all, it’s no wonder that such tight-fisted conservatives as County Commissioner Todd Mielke and Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin oppose I-1033.
The full editorial is available on their site, and it's a good one.

Here's another excerpt from it:
City and county snowplowing costs didn’t soar the past two winters because the population doubled. Snowfall did. Criminals don’t check the consumer price index to decide when to hold up a convenience store. If anything, crime – and the demand for sufficient law enforcement – is more likely to increase when the economy sours, which is also when public revenues dip. Under I-1033, therefore, it would be harder to bolster the police force when it most needs bolstering.

Even when we aren’t enduring the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, economies are cyclical. That’s why frugal governments build up their reserves during the good years and draw them down during the lean. But I-1033 would lock us into today’s sputtering revenue levels.
Well put. I-1033 does not consider any factors besides inflation and population growth that cause demand for services to go up. Factors like healthcare costs (rising faster than the rate of inflation), damage caused by natural disasters, the cost of emergency preparedness (to lessen the damage caused when disaster strikes) or the impact of commercial development.

City councilmembers we've talked to have explained that under I-1033, there would be absolutely no motivation for local leaders to even bother trying to create a good economic environment for small business... because the city's revenue would just be siphoned off and funneled to rich property owners. It couldn't be used to provide services to the people of the city. We're seriously not kidding when we say that I-1033 is a recipe for death on Main Street.

No wonder reasonable conservatives are looking at I-1033 and saying, No thanks, Tim. Even reasonable conservatives can see that attempting to drown government in a bathtub will only hurt, not help, our quality of life.

Vote NO on Initiative 1033.


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