Northwest NEWS

October 18, 1999

Editorial

I-695 attacks more than the intended target

   I-695 will cut more than the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET). It will limit funding for special taxing districts such as school, fire, sewer, water, hospital, and library districts, and take away funding for small cities. The way I-695 is written, it encompasses much more than the MVET.

   Fire District 45 in Duvall is a special taxing district that would be adversely impacted. The Fire District does not receive any funds from the MVET. However, passage of I-695 will create a projected shortfall of $100,000 in the fire district's 2000 operational budget, a 9% reduction in tax revenue.

   The initiative will place additional caps on revenues, meaning that a district's revenue will be fixed at the same amount, year after year, regardless of how many new homes or commercial buildings pop up in that time. This will limit a taxing district's ability to plan for and deal with community growth.

   The only way to get additional funds to deal with the increased needs for service caused by growth will be to place a measure on the ballot asking voters to approve a tax increase. In rapidly growing communities such as the Duvall area, you may have to see these ballot measures every year. This will not allow for long-term planning, but for status quo operations, as costs increase while revenues stay the same.

   I-695 was written to limit state spending and reduce the fees for vehicle license tabs. Unfortunately, it attacks much more than the intended target.

Bud Backer, Chief, Fire District 45