Thursday, September 17, 2009

WPC review of Initiative 1033

In November the people of Washington will vote on Initiative 1033. The measure is sponsored by Tim Eyman and would create a new revenue limit for the state, counties and cities with the goal of annually reducing property taxes. Eyman calls Initiative 1033 the “Lower Property Tax Act of 2009.” Initiative 1033 is the latest in a series of initiatives considered by voters which seek to control the growth of state government, though it is the first to include local governments under its requirements, and it is the first to focus primarily on providing ongoing tax rebates to property owners. According to the state’s Office of Financial Management, passage of Initiative 1033 would result in approximately $5.9 billion in state property tax rebates and $2.8 billion in local property tax rebates going to citizens by 2015. At the same time state and local revenue available for spending increases would grow each year by an amount based on population growth plus inflation. Eyman argues that Initiative 1033 attempts to close loopholes created by the legislature to an earlier voter approved initiative, Initiative 601. Enacted by voters in 1993, Initiative 601 sought to improve on the shortcomings of Initiative 62 adopted in 1979. Here is WPC's brief review of the previous state revenue and spending limits, a similar law in Colorado, and of Initiative 1033: Citizens’ Guide to Initiative 1033


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