Doug Ericksen’s newsletter and I-747

Doug’s latest newsletter addresses I-747 and the 1% cap on property taxes that most of us thought we were getting. You know, like the $30 car tabs we thought we were getting and really don’t. The State Supreme Court ruled I-747 unconstitutional with this from the Herald pretty much summing up both sides of the issue

“A voter reading the text of the initiative could believe that he or she was voting to reduce the property tax limit by 1 percent instead of by 5 percent, a substantially different impact on the public coffers, as well as the perceived benefit to the individual voter’s purse,” the majority, led by Justice Bobbe Bridge, wrote.

But dissenting justices wrote that “no reasonable argument can be sustained that voters were in any way misled or confused by the effect of I-747, which expressly and was specifically aimed at lowering the tax growth to 1 percent.”

State Supreme Court rules I-747 unconstitutional

I generally side with the no new and no more tax side of issues, so I certainly side with the dissenting vote in this case. Below, I’ve included a copy of Doug Ericksen’s latest newsletter that addresses a needed immediate response to the situation.

The long term solution though is to elect those who put the needs of the people ahead of the needs of the government. Next year it looks like we will be choosing between Dino Rossi and Governor Gregoire to lead our state.

Governor Gregoire now says:

Gregoire also reiterated her call to local officials not to raise taxes above the 1 percent cap, saying the Legislature must have time to act.

If that directive is ignored, Gregoire told The Associated Press she would consider calling a special session.

If no special session is called, lawmakers would begin working on the measure just after the new year. It figures to be at the top of the Democratic majority’s agenda, and likely will be on a fast track for approval.

Herald

But earlier, Governor Gregoire said:

But Gregoire said that if the ruling eventually goes against the I-747 limits, she will work with both parties in the Legislature to reach a compromise.

She declined to state a position on the correct percentage, but indicated that perhaps neither the old number nor the 1 percent cap is the best solution.

Seattle PI

And Dino Rossi says:

“Today’s ruling by the State Supreme Court is disappointing. I believe the people were very clear in their approval of a one-percent cap on property tax hikes, and I also believe the Governor and the Legislature should enact the will of the people into law.

“My opponent doesn’t support the one-percent property tax cap. That is troubling, but not surprising, since she is after all the governor for the government who is more concerned about making people pay higher taxes than honoring the will of the voters. As governor, I will work to protect the will of the people and keep the cap on property tax increases at one percent. If I-747 and last Tuesday’s election taught us anything, it’s that people want tax relief and accountability in government spending.”

Rossi Statement on I-747 Ruling

So far Dino Rossi has my vote in ’08 and I don’t see that changing easily. Certainly not when the seated Governor has given me so many reasons to vote for Dino Rossi.

Here’s Doug’s newsletter.

Issue Update
Initiative 747

Constituent question: “What is Initiative 747 and what happened?”

Friends and Neighbors,

Over the last couple days much has been made about the Supreme Court of Washington’s decision to overturn Initiative 747. This is an extremely important issue for the people of Whatcom County. I believe the Legislature needs to do the honest thing and implement I-747 as soon as possible.

What is I-747?

  • Limits property tax increases by 1 percent without voter approval.
  • Approved by 57 percent of Whatcom County voters in 2001.
  • Approved by 58 percent of state voters in 2001.

What led to the Supreme Court’s decision?

  • In June 2006, King County Judge Mary Roberts ruled I-747 was unconstitutional because its wording was ambiguous and misled voters as to the measure’s full effect.
  • Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna appealed Roberts’ decision to the Supreme Court.
  • Last week, the court ruled 5-4 to invalidate the initiative, saying voters didn’t know what they were voting for. Therefore, the old 6 percent cap is now back in place.

What the Justices said:

After the court’s decision, Justice Bobbe Bridge wrote for the majority:

  • “A voter reading the text of the initiative would have perceived a much smaller impact on government coffers than would actually occur under I-747.”

After the court’s decision, Justice Charles Johnson wrote for the minority:

  • “The majority seems to suggest that the voters are unable to think or read for themselves, when in fact our democratic process is based on the assumption that voters do in fact read and understand the impact of their votes.”

What can be done?

  • The state needs to respect and honor the will of the people and reinstate I-747 during a special legislative session on Nov. 28.
  • You can call your elected officials and encourage a special session. The Legislative hotline number is 1-800-562-6000.
  • You can call the governor at (360) 902-4111 and tell her to do the right thing.

I recognize the challenges I-747 presents for our junior-taxing districts and I will be working toward a solution this legislative session that does not include raising taxes.

Sincerely,

Rep. Doug Ericksen 42nd District (R-Ferndale)


 

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