Monday, July 06, 2009

The Case Against Eyman's Latest Initative

While I have not researched all of the impacts of Initiative I-1033, and have not taken any position on it — yet — I found it curious that it took less than 15 minutes for the anti-Eyman forces to begin driving their anti- I-1033 measure home to the media.

Literally within minutes of Eyman's filing, the Business Journal received two press releases — one from the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, and another from the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI). Both were a supposed "analysis" of the damage the initiative would do, and could have seemingly been written by the same individual, since they are viturally identical.

The "analysis" claims Initiative I-1033 would restrict the ability to protect vital services provided by the city, county and state, leaving no room for unanticipated expenses such as natural disasters, unfunded mandates and emerging public priorities like health care for all children. It claims the state would be unable to keep pace with its aging population, educating students and providing public safety.

This warrants at least some cursory response:
1) Unanticipated natural disaster expenses can be budgeted for in a contingency fund dedicated to such events. The trick is for local governments to not spend this money on other things — like Unfunded Mandates." Upon the Governor declaring an "Emergency," the state and federal government money machinery cranks up and local governments begin to see financial relief.

2) As for "Unfunded Mandates," perhaps I-1033 will begin hammering the message home to our blockheaded state legislators that they need to either provide money for the moronic regulations they continue to heap upon local government and the citizens, for no reason other reason than furthering their own political agendas, or stop regulating local government into the poorhouse.

3) "Emerging Public Priorities" such as health care for all childen is a red herring. This isn't an "Emerging Public Priority," but a statewide liberal political priority driven by our Governor and Legislature — one being fueled by the Obama administration's health care initiative.

4) As for educating students, the state already spends more than 57 percent of the entire state budget on education. Yet the state demands absolutely NO accountability for our children actually learning anything. I'll be happy to support increased funding for education when honest accountability comes with it.

5) While supporting our aging population is a nice sentiment and sounds like an urgent priority, the truth is, it too is another red herring. The state isn't in the business of elder care because it's a federal government responsibility, not a state issue.

The NPI and Budget and Policy Center also claim I-1033 will exacerbate the effects of economic and fiscal downturns, saying that during a recession, the amount of revenue that can be spent goes down and adjusts to the lower level. Well, DUH!!!

They also claim cities, counties, and the state would lose spending capacity, making it difficult to respond to economic downturns like the one we’re experiencing. Another, DUH!!!

Opponents claim I-1033 will increase the state deficit by half a billion dollars, saying that in 2011, the state revenue is expected to grow by $1 billion. Initiative 1033 would restrict the amount that the state could "invest" (read spend) to an additional $471 million. They also claim that if I-1033 had been instituted in 1995, the current state deficit would have been $6 billion larger.

What they fail to point out here is their conclusions assume state spending would have remained at current levels — both now and as far back as 1995. All that needs to happen for this to not become a problem is for the state to seriously reduce what it spends. And you have to ask what would have happened had the Legislature not suspended I-601?

If our legislators actually paid attention to the needs of the people who elect them, not the special interests who finance their elections, and acted in their best interests, Tim Eyman wouldn't be a fact of their lives. He has only been able to become a public figure because of the blatant disdain of our legislators for the people they supposedly "serve."

No comments:

Post a Comment