October 25, 1999
I live in South Snohomish County by choice, very close to the boundary of the City of Woodinville, and most of my personal business is conducted in Woodinville. I buy groceries, gasoline, dental work, cleaning, photo developing, license tabs for my vehicle, and spend a large percentage of my entertainment dollar in Woodinville.
Through information recently available, I am almost incensed to discover that I am, through the MVET, supporting the economies of many smaller cities throughout the state. I fail to understand why I should personally be concerned with the problems of such smaller cities as Sea-Tac, Federal Way, Midway, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Easton, Kittitas, et al.
The elected representatives of these cities are the ones who should accept responsibility for operating these cities, particularly since they are probably also the persons who worked so hard to have these communities incorporated in the first place.
The same persons who wanted the benefits of city living are the ones who should now have fortitude to stand up and create the legislation, i.e., taxes, to operate these communities without crying to the state for relief.
A mind-boggling idea presented by the opponents of I-695 is that changes in tax structures and taxes levied would require votes of the people affected. Surprise! I thought this is one of the basic principles of democracy. Maybe what these opponents are suggesting is that now the voters will need to look at all of the changes that are being considered, and that no longer will it be possible to slip some increases through the cracks.
Maybe these opponents are afraid that the voting public will get an understanding of just what politicians do and how many legislative changes and tax increases are passed without informing the voters. I'm a little tired of hearing talk show hosts and others state that their time is too valuable to read every item that requires an educated vote.
Now comes Governor Locke, a man for whom I voted when he ran for governor and for whom I will vote again, stating that if I-695 is defeated, he will promise to work on tax reform with the State Legislature. This is a promise undoubtedly made with all sincerity, but one over which he has little or no control.
His party is not mightily strong in Olympia, and he has no assurance that things will get better in the future. In the event that I-695 passes, strong effort within the Legislature to revise the MVET can still be made, and if changes are recommended, they can and will be passed if they are valid.
Please don't be fooled by predictions of doomsday from some civic leaders. I-695 will guarantee that no other changes can be made in taxing structures without putting the changes to a vote of the electorate. State income tax, personal property taxes, other revisions in the tax code are all possibilities, but not without the electorate's participation.
Our state's voters are not stupid, and when given the opportunity, they will respond intelligently.
Malcom Joss, Woodinville