A no vote is urged as I-1033 will likely result in service cuts voters didn't want or expect.
Lower taxes -- particularly property taxes -- has a sweet sound to it. After all, none of us like ponying up thousands of dollars every year.
But those taxes pay for our schools, our roads and other essential services.
Voters must keep that in mind when considering whether to approve Initiative 1033, which limits the growth of certain state, county and city revenue to the annual inflation and population growth. Under the proposal, any revenue collected above the limit would be used to reduce property taxes.
This proposal, which is co-sponsored by Tim Eyman, puts unreasonable and unnecessary constraints on government. This could -- and likely will -- result in cuts to schools, law enforcement, fire protection and street maintenance that voters didn't expect or want.
I-1033 is so rigid in capping revenue that it forces government to run on autopilot. It doesn't allow our elected leaders to use judgment and reason.
We, however, understand why this initiative is on the ballot. The people are irritated, if not angry. The Democrat-controlled Legislature has done a lousy job of budgeting in the midst of the current recession. If lawmakers had frozen spending when it was clear tax collections were slowing, deep cuts to higher education, corrections and other services wouldn't have been necessary. If, for example, all wages were frozen then all state employees would have sacrificed together.
In addition, more cash should have been stashed when the economy was thriving so that money would have been available in the tough times. This whipsaw approach to government funding is ridiculous.
But punishing ourselves -- the citizens who count on government for schools, roads, etc. -- isn't the answer.
Instead, let's make sure those we elect to represent us in the Legislature, commissions and councils are doing their jobs.
If I-1033 is approved, we are essentially abdicating that responsibility.
Beyond that, the timing of this proposal could not be worse given the current economic situation. The downturn in spending has all but eliminated inflation. So, since I-1033 pegs revenue collection to the annual rate of inflation and population growth, the restrictions on tax collections will be set based on a year that was unusually low.
I-1033 is rotten public policy in the best of times; it's a potential disaster in the current economic climate.
Voters can't allow the promise of lower taxes to blind them to the serious consequences of this misguided initiative. We urge a no vote on I-1033.