Protecting taxpayers is a marathon, not a sprint

by | Dec 8, 2015

The reason we’ve been so effective at protecting taxpayers over the years is because we realized early on that this was a marathon, not a sprint.  That we couldn’t be the hare, we had to be the tortoise.  That the political establishment is maddeningly patient; they’ll just sit back and wait for the unwashed masses to give up and move on.  And when they do, they simply go back to business-as-usual.

        So our always-stay-on-offense philosophy was borne 16 years ago.  We call it “permanent offense” and it drives our opponents crazy (so you know it must be effective).  

        We are persistent.  We are relentless.  We never, ever, ever give up.  Whether it is targeting a particular tax (like car tab taxes or property tax increases) or making it tougher to raise taxes (by requiring 2/3 legislative approval or voter approval), we willingly accept that these kind of historic policy achievements don’t just happen overnight.  They take diligent effort.

       On my desk is a newspaper headline that reads:  “Embrace the grind.” 

       When it comes to success in politics, in business, in relationships, and in life, it is never one big thing — it is the accumulation of hundreds of big and little things that grind out success.  

       “It’s not the destination but the journey that counts.”  

       Let’s tie that sentiment to our current efforts.  We’ve been having a 22 year tug-of-war over making it tougher to raise taxes.  6 times the voters have been given the opportunity to pass a ballot measure making it tougher to raise taxes.  And 6 times they’ve approved it.  6 times.  

       But here we are already preparing a 7th initiative for next year — this new one puts a one-year time limit on tax increases.  

       Politicians already hate it:  Opponents said the initiative could make some of the state’s most important public projects grind to a halt.  “It would tie our hands, completely.  It would make it impossible to bond,” said Rep. Judy Clibborn of Mercer Island and chair of the House Transportation Committee.  Clibborn said no contractor would want to commit or want to buy 30 year bonds from a state that had to re-vote every year on the taxes that pay for those bonds.  “What company would come here, if you can’t make a decision that lasts longer than a year?”  It would be a disaster for us,” Clibborn said.

       Heaven forbid that all tax increases sunset one year later unless the Legislature votes to continue them.  Oh, the horror!  

       Why shouldn’t tax increases be re-analyzed and re-evaluated, instead of being put on auto-pilot forever?  Politicians constantly take for granted all the past tax increases they’ve imposed and never acknowledge or appreciate the cumulative effect all their tax increases have on struggling taxpayers.    

       Our polling shows that this new initiative is overwhelmingly embraced by Washington voters.  But qualifying this new initiative for the ballot will be difficult (as all initiatives are).  But what is the biggest benefit of doing it?  By continually trying, we show Olympia that the people have a way to fight back.  And by continually receiving voters’ validation, we make it tougher for state and local governments to raise taxes.  

       “It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.  It’s the hard that makes it great.” — Tom Hanks as a baseball coach in the movie A League of Their Own

       We are committed to getting the people what they deserve:  permanent protection from Olympia’s insatiable tax appetite. 

        Working together, we will succeed.

        It’s clear we need your help now more than ever.