Posts Tagged ‘tax increase’

It’s not a partisan gap, it’s Democrats

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

When I look at our financial state of affairs in Olympia I don’t see a partisan gap issue as many in the news have said, I see a problem with the Democrats who have had too much control and for too long.   The real problem is not that there is a gap between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, the real problem is that there is a large gap between the will of the people of Washington and the will of the party in power, the Democrats.  

It’s no secret that many of our financial issues stem from government overspending and it takes only the average person to understand that to fix things we need to limit the taxes that are feeding our state’s spending addiction. 

  • 1993 – Voters pass Initiative 601 which demands that “state expenditures be limited by inflation rates and population growth, and taxes exceeding the limit be subject to referendum?”
  • 1998 – Voters pass Referendum 49 which says that “motor vehicle excise taxes be reduced and state revenues reallocated; $1.9 billion in bonds for state and local highways approved; and spending limits modified?"
  • 2007 – Voters pass Initiative 960 which “required that in order for the Washington State Legislature to raise taxes, the legislature would have to approve any tax increases with a two-thirds supermajority vote or submit tax increase proposals to a statewide vote of the electorate”
  • 2010 – voters pass Initiative 1053  which requires that "legislative actions raising taxes must be approved by two-thirds legislative majorities or receive voter approval, and that new or increased fees require majority legislative approval."

For two decades the average people of our state have been speaking to this issue and the Democrats we put in power have been ignoring us.   It seems that each time we try to limit spending the Democrats try to limit our power over them by using whatever technicality they think they can get away with. 

In the waning hours of the "budget focused" special session Democrats in the House and Senate both attempted to cue up votes on a tax bill not assumed in the budget that no one expected to pass. The strategy was to try to gain legal standing to sue the voters to overturn the 18 year old 2/3 vote requirement for tax increases.  Washington Policy Center

Approved by 64 percent of voters last November, I-1053 prohibited unelected bureaucrats from unilaterally imposing taxes and fees. After it passed, Gov. Chris Gregoire said: "I’m not gonna let 1053 stand in the way of me moving forward for what I think is right."  Seattle Times

A coalition of House Democrats and education advocates are asking the courts to void the supermajority required for tax increases in Washington, arguing that it’s an unconstitutional limit on legislative authority. The Spokesman-Review

I’m not a lawyer so I can’t speak to the technicalities of the various legislation, loopholes and lawsuits that the Democrats have used, but suffice to say that the Democrat legislation, loopholes and lawsuits were not implemented to properly enact the will of the people, but rather to oppose the will of those who elected them.

There’s a gap for sure, but it is not between political parties, it is between the average people of this state and the Democratic Party.

 

references http://ballotpedia.org

Just Say No to the City of Ferndale – Part 1

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A recent Whatcom View article titled  Mayor says Ferndale tax increase needed to repair roads can be credited with offering sufficient irritation that I found the time to again write in this blog.

Recently the City of Ferndale has been emphasizing and funding extreme street makeovers like the Second Ave Extension, including the useless park next to a rail yard.  Now the Mayor says that funding is “woefully short” for basic road maintenance and repairs so the must ask the voters for a two-tenths of 1% sales tax increase.

Anyone who has driven on the hill in Ferndale knows that there are roads that need repairing.  That fact is not in doubt.  Even so, I can’t support this tax increase because a tax increase is not required to afford the repairs.   Rather, the City needs to get back to focusing already available funds on repair and scheduled maintenance of existing roads so that we get maximum life from them.  It was while attending a City Council meeting that I first heard mention of  a time in the last few years where funding for street repairs was cut.  The Mayor didn’t mention it in his letter, but it was briefly mentioned in another Herald Article.

Malpezzi said he voted against putting the increase request on the ballot because he didn’t believe the public would support it.

And he said the issue was one of priorities, noting that money that would have come from the solid waste tax to pay for street maintenance and repair has instead been shifted elsewhere, referring specifically to help pay for a new police station.

capture suspend maintenance fundingRight on both accounts!  I don’t think the public will support the increase and It looks like it could have been in 2009 that funding for road maintenance was  suspended, though I’m not a financial expert so I could be mistaken.   However, even an amateur review of Ferndale’s current budget and budgets for the last 4-5 years shows that overall revenue from property taxes, sales taxes and various utility taxes have steadily increased and are projected to keep steadily increasing.  Let me repeat that since that is not what you hear from the City officials or read in the news, overall revenue from property taxes, sales taxes and various utility taxes have steadily increased and are projected to keep steadily increasing.

What I also determined during my quick review,  was that what the City refers to as  a revenue shortfall in the road repair budget  is simply the negative effects of excessive spending, excessive borrowing, misguided priorities and what amounts to a financial account shell game where the council and mayor regularly “tap” funds from one account for use in another often unrelated account.  I was actually amazed at the the amount of  fund “tapping” going on in the City government.   Am I the only one who didn’t know that our Solid Waste Taxes have been systematically inflated, not for Solid Waste disposal, but for leveraging loans and/or state and federal grants for new streets or perhaps a police station. Don’t believe me?

SWT funding If you read the rest of this Request for Council Action don’t miss the list of annual 1% tax increases on the second page.  it’s quite a long list of increases that adds up to so much more revenue than this little two tenths of 1% business.

So really this boils down to the fact that the City of Ferndale does not need a tax increase to repair roads.  The have plenty of revenue to fund street repair without a sales tax increase.  Sadly, instead of taking care of business, they’ve gone the route of shuffling things around, using the money elsewhere, doing the extreme makeover thing and then coming back to the people with a sob story.  Call me cruel, but I say no to the tax increase the same way I say no to the hungry kid crying for more lunch money because he bought candy with his on the way to school.

Sorry, but No!

And I hope you make a better choice next time.

Coming up

Just Say No to the City of Ferndale – Part 2: How small towns like Ferndale contribute to the financial decline of our nation.