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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.