October 18, 1999
The State of Washington in the current 2-year budget cycle will take in approximately $45 billion, up from about $41 billion in the previous 2-year budget cycle. "Lost revenue" from I-695 would be about 1 billion dollars. That represents around 2% of revenue.
Let's see: an increase of $4 billion (45-41 billion) minus $1 billion (when I-695 passes) still leaves the politicians $3 billion more of our money to spend in the current 2-year budget cycle. My feeble brain calculates that this still gives our politicians more than a 7% increase in money to spend in the current 2-year budget cycle. That is considerably more than the rate of inflation during this period. As far as future 2-year budget cycles are concerned, I am sure net revenue will still go up by at least as much as it has in the past--more than the rate of inflation--all without the I-695 motor vehicle excise taxes.
The City of Woodinville's Mayor Brocha spreads the "sky is going to fall" mentality and insults all 50-plus percent of taxpayers who support I-695 as "not knowing anything about state tax structure." Other city employees and politicians lament the fact that elections to actually let the taxpayers vote on whether or not to increase their taxes will cost huge sums of money for many special votes. Other politicians and bureaucrats are wringing their hands, just not knowing how they will cope.
City of Woodinville tax revenue has increased around 50% in the last five years. This is not enough to cover a 2% reduction in the amount that Woodinville would get from the state when the state is inevitably forced to spread the I-695 tax reduction evenly to all? Talk about being greedy!
What really is bothering the politicians is that when I-695 passes, they will finally have to hang their dirty laundry out for all to see by having to go to the voters with all their sneaky tax increases and plead their case. Taxpayers just aren't as stupid as the politicians imply. As to all the special elections at $18,000 each that Woodinville's finance director says will be needed. Well, I have a hunch these special elections will be few and far between.
This is our money that the state takes from us. Let's get it back. Then let the politicians come to us annually in a vote and beg us to give them more by justifying why. I think we already know what that answer will be. That is really why the politicians hate I- 695: accountability.
We all know that a politician's job is to spend our, i.e., taxpayers', money. Let's do them a favor and make their job a little easier.
Then again, maybe we just need some new blood representing us in Woodinville and elsewhere. We could add that to one of the many expensive special elections.
Brian Kohn, Woodinville