UNSUNG HERO: Our Initiative 960 from 2007 is doing its job, deterring tax hikes
UNSUNG HERO: 2007’s Initiative 960 is doing its job, deterring tax hikes
$30 car tabs, 1% cap on property tax increases, the 900 Pound Gorilla requiring performance audits — these are a few of the initiatives we’re most known for.
But we’ve got an unsung hero that’s been protecting taxpayers since its passage in 2007. And it’s Initiative 960. Among its various pro-taxpayer policies, Initiative 960 put every tax and fee increase bill under the brightest spotlight imaginable. It requires the state budget office to identify any revenue-raising bill, calculate how much it’s going to cost taxpayers over the next 10 years, AND THEN SEND AN EMAIL TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA AND EVERY CITIZEN WHO SIGNS UP TELLING THEM ITS COSTS AND WHO’S SPONSORING IT, INCLUDING LEGISLATORS’ NAMES, EMAIL ADDRESSES, AND PHONE NUMBERS. I-960’s email tax and fee increase alert system is keeping the public informed and scaring the politicians.
Here’s a news story about it that’ll make you smile:
Taxes? Fees? I-960 rattles Olympia
Legislators uneasy with new scrutiny
By CHRIS McGANN, SEATTLE P-I
OLYMPIA — Lawmakers are tiptoeing through a new political minefield as they deal with Tim Eyman’s latest initiative that established an automatic public notification system for legislation that raises taxes or fees.
Proponents of the measure passed in November, Initiative 960, say it is doing exactly what it was intended to do by discouraging tax increases. But some legislators complain it is stifling necessary debate.
“It is getting in the way of open consideration of ideas,” said Rep. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline, who sponsored a bill that would tax greenhouse gas emissions (the bill would cost entities that extract or import things such as coal, petroleum and natural gas more than $26 billion over 10 years). “It is getting in the way of taking care of the business of our state.”
“You would not believe the vitriol that has come in on my telephone today,” said Chase, who added lawmakers will be reluctant to have their names associated with any bill that would trigger I-960 notification.
For his part, Eyman said the new law is doing exactly what he hoped.
“It’s extremely positive for us to learn how much these bills are going to cost the taxpayers before the Legislature decides to say, ‘OK, this is a bill we want to pursue. Is this really something we want to have hearings on? Is this something that we really want to do?’ ” Eyman said.
The Legislature should not waste time and money vetting ideas that are clearly unaffordable, he said.
“It would be nothing but an extremely positive thing for the Frank Chopps of the world to sit down and ask, ‘Twenty-seven billion dollars for a carbon tax, is this worth having a hearing over?’ ” Eyman said.
Office of Financial Management Director Victor Moore said three full-time employees are screening the bills for I-960 requirements. Even so, Moore said, it will be a challenge to keep up during the fast-paced legislative session.
“We now send out over 1,000 e-mails to people when a bill is introduced that raises as a tax or a fee; it’s important that we get it right,” Moore said.
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We implore each and every one of you to take the time to sign up for I-960’s tax and fee increase email alert system. It’s super easy:
STEP 1: Click on this link: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAGOV/subscriber/new
STEP 2: Type in your email address and click on the button “SUBMIT”
STEP 3: Under the category “Subscription Topics,” just confirm that under Office of Financial Management, the box called “Tax and Fee Proposals” is checked (it should be automatically checked). That’s it.
(If you have trouble, let me know).
We want as many citizens as possible to sign up for this service. The more people who sign up, the greater I-960’s effectiveness.
After you sign up, and during the rest of the legislative session, you’ll get email updates letting you know what tax proposals are “moving” in Olympia.
For example, because of I-960’s email alerts, a supporter sent me a text message yesterday that read: “Did you see latest OFM alert? New bill imposes capital gains tax. $8.2 billion. Stop ’em, Tim.”
During these tough economic times, Olympia needs to know that they can’t tax our way to prosperity.
After 20 years of fighting for taxpayers, we’ve learned that the most effective way to fight the Democrats’ tax-hiking schemes is by taking our case directly to the people. That’s why we’re moving full steam ahead with We Don’t Want An Income Tax. It prohibits the state and local governments from imposing any kind of income tax, especially a capital gains income tax.
Jack, Mike, and I are committed to protecting taxpayers. But we can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help.