City, state lawmakers share budget woes, chicken dinner

October 20, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

City Council members and state lawmakers gathered last week for what attendees described as a gloomy discussion about the state economy.When the city and state legislators met for dinner at Tibbetts Creek Manor, the discussion centered on Initiative 1033, a ballot measure designed to cap property taxes.

I-1033 would limit the growth of city, county and state revenue to inflation and population growth, not including voter-approved revenue. Any revenue above the cap would be used to lower property taxes. Voters will decide the measure on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Council President Maureen McCarry said the initiative would produce “drastic effects on both county and state revenue.”

Councilman John Rittenhouse said the discussion about I-1033 focused on “how state budget cuts in general can and will affect local budgets.”

City officials also reiterated the importance of the Interstate 90 Bellevue to North Bend Corridor Study, a planning process by the state Department of Transportation to determine future improvements.

During the 90-minute dinner, over chicken stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese and figs, and greens studded with blueberries, officials discussed a handful of local, regional and state issues.

Rittenhouse said transportation issues were another big topic. McCarry said city officials also thanked lawmakers for sending dollars to the state Route 900 widening project.

Councilman John Traeger said state legislators raised the prospect of draconian cuts if I-1033 passes. Cities and other local governments would see state sources of funding fall.

“You can’t do Band-Aid and duct tape if this happens,” Traeger said.

When council members and lawmakers met in the past, city officials put in informal requests for state dollars. With the state trimming services to save money, city officials withheld requests for 2010.

“The idea of asking for something new was literally not on the table,” Traeger said.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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One Response to “City, state lawmakers share budget woes, chicken dinner”

  1. Steve Zemke MajorityRulesBlog on October 21st, 2009 10:43 am

    There are multiple problems with Initiative 1033 but here are three significant reasons to vote NO.

    INITIATIVE 1033 FREEZES STATE AND LOCAL SPENDING AT THE CURRENT LEVEL. It says that none of the cuts made in public services as a result of the current recession can be restored without a public vote. Public votes take time, cost money and allow politics and special interest money to influence the outcome.

    INITIATIVE 1033 IS A RADICAL SHIFT AWAY FROM REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT. It would take away the current power of our elected public representatives to make budget decisions and turns the process over to budgeting by referendum. It does this not just at the state level but also for all 39 counties and all 281 cities in our state. It is a blatant attempt to undercut efficient and deliberative government because Tim Eyman’s goal is to shrink the powers of representative government.

    INITIATIVE 1033 IS A COMPLEX WEALTH TRANSFER SCHEME THAT SHIFTS THE TAX BURDEN ONTO LOWER INCOME TAXPAYERS. It would transfer sales tax dollars collected from everyone and use them to only pay property taxes for property owners. The problem is that not everyone owns property. This scheme increases the unfairness of our tax system. Renters will pay the same taxes as before under I-1033 but will both get no tax rebate and see no increased public services for their tax dollars.

    I-1033 is special interest legislation designed to hamstring government from operating efficiently. It is a complex wealth transfer scheme that benefits rich property owners. And it is not needed.

    There is no fiscal crisis of out of control government demanding radical change of this nature. In fact the reverse is true – that government can’t even fund existing programs right now because of the economy.

    Initiative 1033 is a scheme dreamed up by anti-government, anti-tax fanatic Tim Eyman that is a clone of a similar failed measure in Colorado.
    Initiative 1033 deserves a resounding NO vote this November.

    We don’t need to make our current recession permanent or create more tax unfairness by having people with no property help pay property taxes for those with property.

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