All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Involved in Olympia

Bob Williams, Evergreen Freedom Foundation

The year 2011 will bring problems both old and new. While budget problems are old news, our state is facing one of the worst budget problems in its history. Next year our state will have the third-largest deficit as a percentage of its budget in the nation…7.1%. Only Illinois and Arizona are in worse shape.

The budget cuts and temporary patches passed by the legislature during their recent special session only delayed the inevitable. The legislature will have to make some hard decisions about what are the most important things for the state to do. We are working with legislative leaders to use this crisis to build a priority-based budget. This means fully funding the most important things first and reducing or eliminating everything else.

But legislators will not make good decisions without the backbone provided by active citizens from around the state. This is one of the reasons we began our Citizen Action Network several years ago. After so many years of working with lawmakers and holding them accountable before the public, we realized that lasting change would only come about when “we the people” became active and joined together to make a difference.

This is one of the reasons we have shifted many of our activities to educating and empowering citizens. While we still work with elected officials, we also work with large groups of freedom-loving people who are awakening to their duty to this and future generations.

Email your legislator.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Say WA?

Remember Say WA?

That was Washington state tourism slogan in 2006. One supposes it was meant to inspire tourists to make noises, when the tourist saw the state's majestic mountains, rugged coastline and glorious sunsets.

The dim bulbs who raise our taxes are as stogy as ever.

WADH, the Department of Health, always strange about something, presently is simpleminded about the flu. BobOne sent in a recent screen shot.

Since then, the DOH has gotten slightly more erudite in their approach. The odd, health care photo-postcard concept appears as only an image on their "FluNews" home page.

Its easy to smile at this until you realize this is not some private company indulging a silly whim. This is state government frivolously wasting your money.

Too harsh of an assessment? This is the same government which has raised your taxes over billion and a half dollars (over $200 per person) this year, while the state is in an economic depression. That's a pretty good argument for not letting the children in state government have our money.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Olympia and the Giant Sucking Tax Increase

Taxes are going up lots. The tax hikes were much bigger than anyone knew. There is no deficit in Olympia, and we are screwed.

“Democrats” and their special-interest-group-backers are whining about getting "no new revenue" because the voters reinstated I-1053's two-thirds vote requirement. But the truth is there's a lot of "new revenue" coming in to government coffers. The Office of Financial Management (OFM), the state budget office, confirms these numbers:

After suspending I-960, Gregoire and the "Democrats" imposed $774 million in "revenue enhancements," i.e. taxes. The voter-approved I-1107 repealed only 7% of it, meaning we're still paying $719 million in higher taxes. In other words, 93% of the “Democrats” original tax package remains in effect.

In the next budget (2009-2011), the “Democrats” revenue package from this year was expected to bring in $1.69 billion. Even with I-1107's repeal of food & beverage taxes, Olympia will still receive $1.473 billion in "new revenues."

The OFM said the 10 year cost of this session's revenue package totaled $7.1 billion. I-1107 repealed just 5% of that, meaning their "temporary" suspension of I-960 still resulted in a $6.748 billion hit on Washington's families and businesses.

The most up-to-date revenue projection for the 2009-2011 budget is $28.127 billion (Economic & Revenue Forecast Council). And for the 2011-2013 budget, it's $32.605 billion. That's a $4.48 billion increase (and $1.473 billion of that -- see #2 above -- came from this year's tax hikes).

It is totally untrue that state government is getting "no new revenue" even with the passage of I-1053 and I-1107. Both in the short term and long term, the taxpayers of Washington will continue to pay heavily for the Legislature's "temporary" suspension of I-960's fiscal restraint.

We must never let this happen again. Even a single day without the 2/3's super-majority requirement will result in Billions Of Dollars In Higher Taxes Forever.

~~~~~~~~

Part of I-960 (and revived with the passage I-1053) was the transparency requirement regarding new taxes or fees. When the Legislature increased taxes or fees, they had to reveal the increase, and who voted for it, immediately.

When the “Democratic” Party controlled Legislature “suspended” I-960, they made sure to suspend the transparency requirement. We are only now finding out how much the “Democrats” despise the People. The “Democrats” massively increased taxes when they gave themselves a little dark corner to plot and scheme against the People of Washington State.

The election makes it clear the Legislature increased taxes against the will of the People. Its also clear the Legislature maliciously knew their tax increases had to be made in secret so they could be re-elected. This Legislature has lost its moral authority to govern our State democracy.

~~~~~~~~

The OFM website makes repeated reference to reduced revenue. The state is taking far more than they should, but because they are getting less than they want, they feel deprived. We have a perfect example of spoiled brat government in Olympia.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

City Government Hikes Taxation

The State legislature must have a 2/3rds majority to raise taxes (I-1053). But hyperactive local government marches on.

Lynnwood Council Boosts Taxes To Avert Layoffs by Lynn Thompson of the Seattle Times.

The Lynnwood City Council approved several new taxes Monday night to close a projected $22 million budget deficit for the 2011-2012 biennium and avert the layoff of up to 102 city employees.

A majority of the council said the new revenues, including higher property and utility taxes, were necessary to preserve the jobs of 25 police officers, 15 firefighters and other city workers.

"The message we heard was that people are willing to pay a little more as long as they know what they're buying. We've reduced the cuts in the Police Department from $9 million to $3 million and saved 25 officers' jobs," said council President Mark Smith. [Is Smith lost in a fantasy? According to official Snohomish County results, about 64% of the SnoCo vote favored reduced taxation. - Impolite]

But anti-tax activist Tim Eyman, who was on hand for the council's approval of new $20 car-tab fees as well as the other taxes, denounced the measures as a "tax-hiking rampage" that ignored voters' message in the November election.

"Taxpayers are totally tapped out and can't afford any more taxes. Governments need to stop taxing and spending and start prioritizing and reforming," he said.

Even with the new taxes, Smith said that about 25 city employees will likely be laid off in January in order to cut $10 million in spending for the biennium and put the city budget on a more sustainable basis. The city had been heavily reliant on sales-tax revenue, which dropped $4.6 million in 2009.

A final budget must still be approved by the council before Jan. 1. The city is also negotiating for wage concessions from its unions.

A state audit released in October criticized elected city officials for spending millions in reserves in 2009 without raising new revenues or cutting services. That left the city with a negative general-fund balance in 2009.

In its meeting Monday night, the council agreed to raise property taxes by 11.5 percent. That means the owner of a $250,000 house will pay about $90 more next year.

It also approved an increase in utility taxes to 6 percent from 4 percent. Residents will see bigger bills starting in January for water, sewer and storm drains. The increases for electricity, gas and cable television go into effect in April.

The council also approved an increase in the city's business-license fee from $15 per employee to $85, over the objections of the local business community. Jean Hales, president of the South Snohomish County Chamber of Commerce, said imposing new taxes on an "already overburdened public" did not address the city's long-term financial picture in which liabilities — including employee pensions and benefits — continue to outstrip revenues.

Councilman Ted Hikel, who with Jim Smith cast no votes on the hikes in property and employee taxes, said that while the new revenues likely preserve most of the threatened jobs in the city, the plan isn't sustainable in the long run.

"Two years from now, when we fall off a cliff, there will be nothing to do but lay off an extraordinary number of people or adopt a B&O [business-and-occupation] tax, which is the worst possible option," Hikel said. "We've maxed out all our available taxes."
When the People of Washington State voted, they made it clear they were taxed enough (I-1053 & I-1107 were enacted). I suspect the People would have added they are restricted and regulated enough too. Perhaps we will get to the bottom of the problem and stop government from providing all the extra restriction they lay on us that they call $22 million in "service."

But, gee, aren't police and fire protection worth it? Lynnwood suffers from the same malfeasance as other Washington State cities: The actual public servants -- the people on the line -- are the first to be cut from the payroll. The staffers who make the bureaucracy top heavy are never threatened at all. This must change. Hold your city government accountable.

Olympia Feels the Squeeze

Olympia is sucking around for ways to pay off their Union Bosses with taxpayer money. These days, Olympia must work to raise taxes under the people's fresh re-imposition of a super majority requirement. Cutting costs is another legislative option, but that would require a break with their Union buddies.

The "Democratic" Party controlled legislature would rather break the People.

But we should make some suggestions

How about getting rid of the stupid new regulations on housing? For example, there is new requirement that every rental unit and every house offered for sale must have a carbon monoxide detection system: Cost about $100 per unit. Another example, the new requirement that housing older than 1978 must be painted by someone with lead abatement certification. The certification costs about $300.

Stupid regulations require more enforcement effort and personnel than wise regulation. The Left's tendency to make oppressive, stupid regulations is because they want to throw their weight around and make gifts of our resource to their corrupt buddies.

Wise up everybody. Hyperactive government micromanagement is cruel. If Olympia legislators won't do good and fair government you want, elect someone else next time. But voters keep putting the "Democratic" Party in power. The voters must be in love with pain.

What other people read on this blog

Effing the ineffable - Washington State elections sometimes have been rigged.

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
-- Joseph Stalin