November 28, 2007
Showdown at the Olympia Corral
Tomorrow's legislative special session in Olympia should be an object lesson in political expediency. Or is the metaphor abject lesson?
With the State Supreme Court tossing out I-747, Gov. Christine Gregoire and the near-Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature have been quick to keep their collective skirts out of the electoral mud-pit presented to them by their colleagues on the bench.
Gregoire is pushing a bill which is touted to restore the 1 percent cap on property tax increases.
Turn on any AM radio station and you've probably heard Tim Eyman, the fountainhead of I-747 excoriating Gregoire over the issue of "banking capacity". Prior to a week ago you wouldn't have been able to find one person in a hundred who could tell you what the term meant.
Although it is an arcane funding tactic, Eyman and others, including Bob Williams at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation contend that implementing the 1 percent property tax cap, while allowing local governments to parlay tax increases with the banking capacity loophole, will leave state taxpayers liable to a potential tax hike of $259 million.
Already during this period of legal limbo, the city council of Port Townsend has voted 4-3 to increase city taxes and to use $198,000 of banked capacity.
The matter of banking capacity was addressed in I-722, another Eyman initiative which was passed in 2000 and rejected by the court the following year. Eyman and his supporters will state that I-747 was written and passed with the assumption that 722 would be in place.
If politics were blackjack, Eyman sees the dealer is in trouble and is doubling down.
For Democrat die-hards the special session must be galling. What is the point of electing liberal and progressive candidates if they are going to cave to the state's biggest conservative boogeyman when the court has already done the dirty work of torpedoing yet another one of his initiatives?
There is still the chance enough Democrat legislators will shout out a collective "Sike" and nix Gregoire's proposal. But with heavy-hitters like Frank Chopp at the plate and the reality that not every Democrat has a safe seat located somewhere between Federal Way and Green Lake the odds are that at least the 1 percent cap will be reinstated.
The only question now is if Gregoire and Co. have the guts to look across the gaming table and call Eyman's bluff.
Posted by DonWard at November 28, 2007
12:06 PM | Email This
Heard this morning that Portownsen raised their taxes already. LOL
Hope they tax themselves into a shanty town!
The Port of Seattle has so much "banking capacity" that it isn't even funny. The port commissioner board has already voted to increase the King County property tax assessment for 2008 by another $10 million, from $70 million this year, to $80 million next year. The port is definitely an operation that should be self-supporting, or even profitable. Regrettably, King County taxpayers have to subsidize wealthy shipping companies.
But what else should we expect, when the Port of Seattle commission has a solid REPUBLICAN majority?
3. The Legislature four years ago gave counties the right to create taxing authorities districts without a public vote. While their at it, they should look it to removing this taxing authorities from the counties and the Port of Seattle. The counties and the Port Are using the Governor & Legislators for a excuse to raise property and sales tax.
"What is the point of electing liberal and progressive candidates if they are going to cave to the state's biggest conservative boogeyman when the court has already done the dirty work of torpedoing yet another one of his initiatives?"
Considering how quickly the fringe left morons were kicked to the curb after the 06 election, you'd think they be used to it by now.
The court should be ashamed of themselves for even thinking that they can strike down the LAW as unconstitutional. It is clear to even most neanderthals like me that the INTENT of the law is to have a cap on the taxes.
These damn judges better remember who's paying their salaries. The same damn people who wanted this tax cap.
Are you familiar with the phrase "Give them enough rope to hang themselves with"
They've had 3 years worth of rope.
So, is there or is there not the loophole and banking capacity? I tend to believe that there is a loophole and I believe Gregoire was deliberately trying to sneak it by.
Joel Connely had another hit piece on this subject (sorry, name calling abounded despite his claim of innocence- where's Stefan when you need him). In this case he blasted Gregoire as well as Eyman.
As always, he used some lame conversation with another person who was hurt by the original initiative to bolster his point.
I think Joel is for any tax increase he doesn't have to pay into. I think that goes for a supermajority of the local socialists.
"metaphor abject lesson"
When you think about it, it means so much more than "metaphoric object lesson"...
"Sike"? What is "sike"? Did you perhaps mean "psych
"Sike" is the proper 1980s spelling of the term "psych" as in to "psych-out" or to mislead.
If you were a kid in the '80s using the term "sike" you most likely used the phonetic spelling while writing the word on notes and other messages. Of course my slang usage comes from White Center. Your particular ghetto might have its own varient.
Any chance that the special session will address residency requirements and proof of SSN #'s for getting a drivers license as Oregon recently has done?
As soon as the issue was brought up by Tim Russert in the Demo debate Oregonians have started an initiative petetion and the Governor has issued an executive order to tighten up proof of identity and citezenship requirements for obtaining driving licenses. Google it and you will see plenty.
I have not heard a word about this in Wa. Funny since I thought Oregon was actually more Liberal in its coddling of Illegals.
WA State already requires providing SSN for first timers getting drivers licenses. See: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/idproof.html for full details.
WA State already requires providing SSN for first timers getting drivers licenses. See: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/idproof.html for full details.
Not when I came here in 1995!
Thanks James Madison. The balance of powers, and political expedience leaves the Democrats in a conundrum. I hope the Bicameral Legislature doubles down and sneaks around the 1% cap. The future political wrath will make for a great show.
And as Democrats, they are just dumb enough, and just arrogant enough, to try.
14. But what else should we expect, when the Port of Seattle commission has a solid REPUBLICAN majority?
(snicker) Well, Richard ... you could always run for the seat.
15. When I got here from texas in 01 ,my daughter went for a Wa license. they wouldn't put her pic on it because I didn't have divorce papers showing I was her father. I saw plenty of non-white,non black, people given Wa I D and licenses with out any I D . when I questioned it I was given rude looks. I finally went to the head quaters office and talked about being discriminated against.I was then offered a Wa ID for myself which i didn't want. When I went to the local office ,the branch manager went beserk when one of the assistants didn't let my daughter take the test. he begged me not to leave .
When I decided to change my Texas license ,the office workers remebered me . Took a new pic and gave me a Wa license since I had already had one years before.my other daughter went to get her license and they didn't even want her to take the test just get these people out of here,she took the test and passed.
the point is wa gives illegals licenses and id without ever knowing who they are giving it to .
16. George's comment points out a real sticking point: It is entirely obnoxious when the government is harder on citizens than non-citizens when it comes to these kinds of things. That has to stop!
17. ..and btw, it's great fun watching Gregoire and the dems have to pretend that they are FOR this 1% tax limit!
18. ..and I need to point out that in my #16 comment, I'm not implying that just anyone who is non-white, etc is automatically presumed to be a non-citizen, but we know there are non-citizen illegal aliens running around (duh) and they get stuff with little to no questioning. (like they're not even allowed to be asked whether they are citizens if they try to register to vote, and Stefan reported on at least two persons in '04 who came forward to get their names taken off the rolls for being non-citizen. and those are just the confirmed ones.)
JimG @ 14
Been there, done that :)
They will pass the 1% and go lame on the Banking issue, so in the end we all will be once again screwed by these democrats.
But we will remember their names, and be continually reminded of their votes.
Anything short of canning the Banking issue, will be deemed as their failure to come to grips with what the people of this state said ever so clearly in the last election.
Enough is enough, we are all taxed out!
Their Choice is actually very easy, vote to stop the banking and restore the 1% cap, or see either or both of these issues on the ballot again in 2008 right next to their names while they are trying to run for re-election.
22. As a Jefferson County resident, it doesn't surprise me that Port Townsend already raised property taxes. There's more nuts in that town than in a Blue Diamond warehouse.
Can somebody clarify things for me?
I've heard a lot lately about how local municipalities are going without police, fire, parks, sewers, libraries and other necessities like public pools because they lost their funding source under the initiative.... but the initiative didn't prevent raising taxes entirely, just doing it by fiat, right?
If the local governments really need those facilities, they can make a proposal to the voters as a supplimental levy and the people can decide whether the cost and benefit make sense, right? I have seen several of these for schools, libraries, fire departments and water districts where I have lived over the past few years. Generally the levys for things people care about (water quality, fire station, etc) get passed wheras the ventures of dubious benefit ("community centers") get voted down.
In King county, who would have voted for a property tax increase to fund water taxies? Especially if the other choice on the ballot was to fix that bridge Postman was talking about.
If I'm right, the real outcry is not over the ability to fund things, it's having to explain to the public what the money will be used for and, even more galling I am sure, ask for permission.
Am I correct in my thinking?
Governor's bill threatens taxpayers with a $259 million (a quarter of a billion dollars) property tax increase
On the day of the court's voters-are-stupid ruling and every day since, King County Assessor Scott Noble has repeatedly said reimposing a 1% doesn't fix, in his words, the "crisis", the "catastrophe", the "disaster" that the courts created. There are over 1700 local governments in Washington. Because of the courts, Rep. Ed Orcutt, ranking minority member of the House Finance Committee, reports that according to the Department of Revenue earlier this week that there's a total of $282.4 million in BANKED CAPACITY -- that's the amount that local governments can increase property taxes without a vote of the people (above the 1%). Gregoire's bill repeals $23.4 million of that amount, but leaves in place $259 million (county breakdowns are listed below). So the governor's bill threatens taxpayers with A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLAR PROPERTY TAX INCREASE ABOVE HER 1%.
Governor Gregoire has repeatedly promised a 1% cap, but her bill doesn't deliver a 1% cap. It's 1% plus $259 million. It's 1% plus whatever amount local governments want to exceed it by. Port Townsend just did it. Port of Seattle just did it (they also did it in 2002). King County just did it. Spokane did it. AND THOSE ARE THE ONES WE KNOW ABOUT. There are 1700 local governments -- the media can't possibly report on every tax-lusting local government that jacks up taxes -- there's just too many to keep track of. And Scott Noble points out that if not fixed by November 30th, then all these tax hikes are irreversible, that they can't be rescinded retroactively in January. They have to do it on Thursday or else taxpayers are going to get royally screwed.
Taxpayers clearly want a real 1% cap bill, NOT the governor's bill which promises 1% but delivers 1% plus a $259 million property tax increase.
We want her $259 million property tax increase repealed. The Washington Policy Center wants it repealed. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation wants it repealed. So does Dino Rossi.
But Rep. Orcutt has a prudent, compromise solution -- require local governments to get the voters' permission to impose any of that $259 million in banked capacity if its levy exceeds 1%. That's consistent with what the voters are being promised: a 1% cap and anything higher is OK with voter approval.
The governor's bill isn't a 1% cap -- it's a fraud, a sham, a lie. It's not a real 1% cap. It can be, if the Legislature and Governor follow Rep. Orcutt's (and Sen. Benton's) lead in requiring voter approval to impose any of that $259 million.
Everyone knows that's what the voters want and expect and deserve.
Each of the county assessors is compiling totals for governments within their county. Here's the ones received so far:
Just imposing 1%, and not repealing 21 years of unused taxing authority (which the governor's bill doesn't do), means property owners in KING COUNTY are threatened by $175,044,147 ($175 million) in higher property taxes WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. That's 21.93% higher than the 1%.
Just imposing 1%, and not repealing 21 years of unused taxing authority (which the governor's bill doesn't do), means property owners in PIERCE COUNTY are threatened by $28,224,443 ($28 million) in higher property taxes WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. That's 16.57% higher than the 1%.
Just imposing 1%, and not repealing 21 years of unused taxing authority (which the governor's bill doesn't do), means property owners in SNOHOMISH COUNTY are threatened by $36,237,117 ($36 million) in higher property taxes WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. That's 22.22% (exact percentage expected later today) higher than the 1%.
Just imposing 1%, and not repealing 21 years of unused taxing authority (which the governor's bill doesn't do), means property owners in YAKIMA COUNTY are threatened by $25,297,930 ($25 million) in higher property taxes WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. That's 36.24% higher than the 1%.
Just imposing 1%, and not repealing 21 years of unused taxing authority (which the governor's bill doesn't do), means property owners in LEWIS COUNTY are threatened by $9,086,443 ($9 million) in higher property taxes WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. That's 20.90% higher than the 1%.
Just imposing 1%, and not repealing 21 years of unused taxing authority (which the governor's bill doesn't do), means property owners in SKAMANIA COUNTY are threatened by $1,503,633 ($1.5 million) in higher property taxes WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. That's 26% higher than the 1%.
And Last Year Island County took in 10 Million dollars more than the previous year in Property taxes alone. This was with the 2% and 1% limits in place!
A 13% tax increase in my property in just 2007 alone.
Without the courts opening pandora's Tax Box.
Be sure and read your property statements this year before you vote!
Tim Eyman --
Wasn't the banked taxing authority available under I-747 as well? All the local governments you talk about could have done this same $259 million property tax increase, had the state supreme court upheld I-747. So how can you call it a tax increase, if the legislature simply reinstates I-747 tomorrow?
As for the Port of Seattle -- the largest abuser of banked taxing authority in the entire state by far -- isn't the port commissioner controlled by REPUBLICANS? Four out of five members of the outgoing commission (that just used $10 million of banked taxing authority this year, and which has used over $30 million more between 2002 and 2006) are either admitted Republicans, or were endorsed by the King County Republican Party and/or by prominent Republican elected officials. And with the offsetting defeats of two incumbents a few weeks ago, the incoming port commission will also be four our of five REPUBLICANS as well.
To summarize -- (1) you are blaming Democrat Christine Gregoire for enacting a non-existent tax increase tomorrow, which in all likelihood will simply reinstate I-747 and (2) you are saying virtually nothing about the biggest abuser of banked taxing authority by far -- the Republican Port of Seattle commission (and certainly nothing about it being a Republican-controlled body)
First of all, thanks Tim. Thanks for keeping us informed. WE NEED YOU!!!
Second of all, Mr. Pope, stop your blowviating. Have you been paying attention at all? I-722 covered the banking authority, so I 747 didn't need to address it. It was already addressed, but thanks to the Supreme Court it too was thrown out. Go find something else to do. Yes. I am blaming Gregoire for "caring so much about the citizens of Washington" that she can't wait to charge us 7% on tax deferred property taxes. We don't want our taxes deferred. WE DON'T WANT NEW TAXES AT ALL.
We voted for I-747. Then an alcoholic judge decided that we didn't understand what we were voting for. Last time I checked her job is to read the law NOT read people minds. I guarantee you, she can't read my mind, because I have more than a few choice thoughts for a judge who has NEVER been held to account for a hit and run driving accident, yet sits on the court and believes she is above the law.
We wouldn't even be having this discussion if not for a judge who is conveniently retiring after screwing every citizen in this state.
2008 is an election year. Gregoire is just giving us an early Christmas present. Hopefully the citizens of this state will wise up and vote her gludious maximus out of there. And send the democratic held house and senate with her.
As for the Port of Seattle, THESE ARE NONPARTISAN POSTS!! At least get your facts straight. Oh, you're a democrat, that's not possible. And as for being endorsed by the republican party, Port Comissioner John Creighton was also endorsed by Gary Locke, remember him? And Alec Fisken, pos. no. 5, he was endorsed by Rom Sims, Frank Chopp, Gary Locke and Mike Lowry. Bob Edwards, was endorsed by Ron Sims as well. LLoyd Hara was endorsed by Gary Locke and Mike Lowry. These names ringing ANY BELLS for you? All democrats.
Republican controlled you say? Of course, like most democrats you love to cry foul when you have no clue what you are talking about.
Two words Mr. Pope. Go AWAY