(This guest Slog post is by Joshua Friedes, executive director of Equal Rights Washington, the State’s largest LGBT civil rights organization. The voters guide has more information on Initiative 1053 here. )
When BP Oil was spilling 58,000 barrels of oil every single day into the Gulf of Mexico and experiencing what might be called a public relations nightmare, only one man thought, hey, BP, you should come to Washington State and be my friend!
That man is Tim Eyman.
How many times do I have to tell you that Tim Eyman does not have your best interests at heart? It’s been seven years now since Goldy proposed an initiative to officially label the serial ballot measure sponsor “a horse’s ass,” but Eyman is still at it. And sadly unless we speak out Eyman will continue to pull the wool over the eyes of many Washington Voters.
I-1053 is Eyman’s latest plot to strangle government but he’s using the same tired argument. He’ll tell you spending is out of control, he’ll tell you it’s about raising taxes, and he’ll tell you that you voted for it before.
Here’s the truth: I-1053 is being funded by Big Banks, because they want to keep their special tax loopholes. And the measure is funded by Big Oil Companies. They are dumping money into 1053 because they want to avoid a proposed hazardous substance tax that would make them accountable for their own pollution. That’s right, right now it’s the tax dollars you and I pay that should go to critical social services that are instead going to clean up the mess made by petroleum products in Washington State.
I-1053 would impose a two-thirds majority vote of the legislature to raise any revenue from any source. That means that just 17 legislators (one-third of the Senate) could stop the majority from closing special tax loopholes that benefit companies selling junk mail, cigarette wholesalers and those poor, persecuted private plane owners, and people who get elective plastic surgery.
Requiring a two-thirds majority to increase revenue is unfair, it’s undemocratic and it’s bad policy. It gives a small minority of elected leaders veto power. And, as we have seen in California it creates partisan gridlock.
The truth is that it is hard to raise taxes. Nobody likes taxes, and people like raising them even less, but without taxes we would have no schools, no roads, no water pipes, no firefighters, no civil rights enforcement and no services for the most vulnerable like homeless LGBT youth. Is this the state you’d want to live in?
More after the jump.
Last session, we cut $4 for every $1 raised, and that last dollar was a last resort so that we could prevent the most devastating cuts to the most vulnerable Washingtonians—kids, seniors, people with disabilities, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Eyman likes to dress up in costumes and play make-believe about hidden waste in government, but he never can tell you what programs he would cut. When half of our budget is dedicated to education, and another third goes to health and human services, and we’ve already cut $5 billion, there just isn’t much left. Perhaps a few years back government was fat, but we can’t live in the past. Today government is lean and if I-1053 passes it will become too emaciated to do its job.
Tim Eyman wants to strangle government with a belt and drown it in a bathtub. Many voters know by now that he can’t be trusted and that’s just one more reason to vote NO on 1053. In 2006 Eyman tried to repeal Washington State’s landmark anti-discrimination law. We stopped him cold that time, let’s do it again this time by voting NO on I-1053.