Schmudget Blog


Tim Eyman Initiative on Property Taxes

Posted by staceys at Jan 07, 2009 08:05 AM |

As the state economy faces historically large deficits and lawmakers scramble to figure out how to balance the budget, Tim Eyman is proposing a new voter initiative designed to limit to the rate of inflation the amount of revenue state and local governments can take in. Any additional funds coming into the government would go directly to reducing property taxes.

To read the full text of the Lower Property Tax Initiative, go here.

Brad Shannon, political editor at The Olympian, points out on his Politics Blog, that the timing of the initiative is probably not a coincidence. "I'm guessing the measure is timed to lock in the soon-to-be reduced size of state and local governments, which are shedding payrolls and costs due to the ongoing recession," Shannon writes. "In Thurston County, losses of sales tax and other revenues are leading to large layoffs of staff, for instance, and Gov. Chris Gregoire has proposed some $3 billion in reduced program outlays. In 2010 and beyond, revenues are likely to spring back, allowing cut programs to be restored, unless lawmakers cut taxes or Eyman's measure succeeds."

For more information see our report on sound property tax policy for the state.

UPDATE: Governor's Budget Proposes Deep Cuts

Posted by staceys at Dec 18, 2008 08:30 AM |
Filed under: State Budget

The Governor’s 2009-11 budget released today proposes deep cuts in all areas of the state budget, including state-funded health care, assistance to people with disabilities, and education. The Governor’s reliance on budget cuts and resistance to options of increasing revenue and ending certain tax exemptions severely limits our ability to pursue important priorities during these difficult economic times.

UPDATE

During a time of broad economic insecurity, the impact of these budget reductions will fall disproportionately on lower income people who are employed or are unable to work due to disability. Twenty percent of the $3.4 billion in cuts in the Governor’s budget focus on two important programs:

  • The General Assistance for the Unemployable Program provides health care and cash assistance to 20,000 adults who are unable to work because of disability. This program is entirely eliminated, saving $400 million.
  • Currently, about 100,000 people receive health insurance through the Basic Health program. The governor’s budget would cut this program by 42%, suggesting that 40,000 or more people would lose health insurance. This cut in Basic Health would mean a reduction of $275 million dollars

Statement on Governor's Budget Release

Posted by jeffc at Dec 17, 2008 06:00 AM |
Filed under: State Budget

The starting point for a conversation about how to close the state's $6 billion deficit will come tomorrow as Governor Gregoire unveils a 2009-11 budget proposal that will likely include dramatic cuts in the areas of human services, health care, education, and higher education.

These are difficult times for our state and our nation. In the midst of economic uncertainty, state government can play an important role in protecting families and creating opportunities for a better tomorrow. As job losses rise, more people in our state will need unemployment benefits and state-funded health insurance in order to meet basic needs. Our community colleges must be affordable so that people can access workforce training programs. And state initiatives can provide needed jobs and boost economic security for families while also making important investments in state infrastructure.

While a weak economy increases the need for government protections and services, it also can significantly reduce the revenue that allows the pursuit of those priorities. There is no easy answer to a $6 billion problem, but the process of developing and passing a balanced budget must include consideration of all available options, including raising revenue through tax increases and closing tax exemptions.

Now is not the time to turn away from investing in our long term efforts to create a just and prosperous Washington State. We must work together towards a shared vision in which there is education and opportunity, thriving communities, good health and a safe environment, and economic security for everyone. With the economy in peril, our state needs bold action and leadership in order to make progress towards these important goals.

We will release a detailed analysis of the Governor's budget proposal in early January.

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