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January 20, 2009
To: Our thousands of supporters throughout the state (cc'd to the media, house & senate members, and Governor)
From: Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, Mike Fagan, and Mike Dunmire, Fighting for Taxpayers, ph: 425-493-9127, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.VotersWantMoreChoices.com (go to our website to do a secure donation by VISA/Mastercard/PayPal or print out the form below, fill it out, and return it with a check or money order or credit card information)
RE: UNSUNG HERO: 2007's Initiative 960 is doing its job, deterring tax hikes
$30 car tabs, 1% cap on property tax increases, the 900 Pound Gorilla requiring performance audits -- these are a few of the initiatives that we're most known for.
But we've got an unsung hero that's been protecting taxpayers since its passage in 2007. And it's been incredibly effective at deterring tax hikes in Olympia, despite mega-majority Democrat control of the state house, state senate, and governor's office.
Approved by the voters in 2007, Initiative 960 is doing its job. For any tax hike, it requires two-thirds legislative approval in both the state house and state senate, and Queen Christine's signature. Additionally, it requires that any tax hike unilaterally imposed by Olympia (not put on the ballot by the Legislature for a vote of the people) MUST BE put on the ballot anyway as an advisory vote of the people. That advisory vote requires two pages in the voters pamphlet listing how legislators voted on the tax hike, including their names, phone numbers, and email addresses.
I-960 puts a bright spotlight on any tax hike, especially one unilaterally imposed by Olympia.
This explains why mega-liberal Gregoire put forward a no-new-taxes budget. This explains why Democrats have completely written off Olympia tax hikes and are only considering a 'revenue package' put to a vote of the people.
Without a doubt, I-960 is protecting taxpayers very effectively.
Among its various pro-taxpayer policies, Initiative 960 put every tax and fee increase bill under the brightest spotlight imaginable. It requires the state budget office to identify any revenue-raising bill, calculate how much it's going to cost taxpayers over the next 10 years, AND THEN SEND AN EMAIL TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA AND EVERY CITIZEN WHO SIGNS UP TELLING THEM ITS COSTS AND WHO'S SPONSORING IT, INCLUDING LEGISLATORS' NAMES, EMAIL ADDRESSES, AND PHONE NUMBERS. I-960's email tax and fee increase alert system is keeping the public informed and scaring the politicians.
As the Seattle PI reported last year:
Taxes? Fees? I-960 rattles Olympia
Legislators uneasy with new scrutiny
By CHRIS McGANN, SEATTLE P-I CAPITOL CORRESPONDENT
OLYMPIA -- Lawmakers are tiptoeing through a new political minefield as they deal with Tim Eyman's latest initiative that established an automatic public notification system for legislation that raises taxes or fees.
Proponents of the measure passed in November, Initiative 960, say it is doing exactly what it was intended to do by discouraging tax increases. But some legislators complain it is stifling necessary debate.
"It is getting in the way of open consideration of ideas," said Rep. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline, who sponsored a bill that would tax greenhouse gas emissions (the bill would cost entities that extract or import things such as coal, petroleum and natural gas more than $26 billion over 10 years). "It is getting in the way of taking care of the business of our state."
"You would not believe the vitriol that has come in on my telephone today," said Chase, who added lawmakers will be reluctant to have their names associated with any bill that would trigger I-960 notification.
For his part, Eyman said the new law is doing exactly what he hoped.
"It's extremely positive for us to learn how much these bills are going to cost the taxpayers before the Legislature decides to say, 'OK, this is a bill we want to pursue. Is this really something we want to have hearings on? Is this something that we really want to do?' " Eyman said.
The Legislature should not waste time and money vetting ideas that are clearly unaffordable, he said.
"They keep talking about how we have thousands of bills that fly around down in Olympia and they benefit from this anonymity of chaos, where they have so many bills flying around that you can't tell which one is serious and which one is not.
"Maybe average citizens do want to go and testify and talk about one of these things but they can't tell if it's real or not," he said.
"It would be nothing but an extremely positive thing for the Frank Chopps of the world or the Lisa Browns of the world to sit down and ask, 'Twenty-seven billion dollars for a carbon tax, is this worth having a hearing over?' " Office of Financial Management Director Victor Moore said three full-time employees are screening the bills for I-960 requirements. Even so, Moore said, it will be a challenge to keep up during the fast-paced legislative session.
"We now send out over 1,000 e-mails to people when a bill is introduced that raises as a tax or a fee; it's important that we get it right," Moore said.
-- END --
We implore each and every one of you to take the time to sign up for I-960's tax and fee increase email alert system:
http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=TAX-AND-FEE-PROPOSALS&A=1 -- type in your name, your email address, and click on the button: JOIN TAX-AND-FEE-PROPOSALS (if you have trouble, let me know).
We want as many citizens as possible to sign up for this service. The more people who sign up, the greater I-960's effectiveness.
During these tough economic times, Olympia needs to know that they can't tax our way to prosperity.
Regarding this year's Lower Property Taxes Initiative, Tim's $50,000 loan has provided us with enough start-up money to mail out tens of thousands of letters to our supporters throughout the state and pay for the brilliant attorneys that drafted the initiative. But we need everyone's help to raise the funds necessary to fund the initiative's signature drive.
We need your financial commitment RIGHT NOW. Please fill out the form below and send us a donation of $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more (there are no limits on the amount that can be given) to our offices in Spokane. Or, you can do a SECURE online donation by going to our website: http://www.VotersWantMoreChoices.com -- we accept VISA AND MASTERCARD and PAYPAL. Either way, please send in your most generous donation RIGHT NOW.
FULL STEAM AHEAD!
Regards, Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, & Mike Fagan, Lower Property Taxes Initiative co-sponsors, ph: 425-493-9127, email: email@example.com, http://www.VotersWantMoreChoices.com (go to our website to do a SECURE donation by VISA/Mastercard/PayPal or print out the form below, fill it out, and return it with a check or money order or credit card information).
Lower Property Taxes Initiative . PO Box 18250 . Spokane . WA . 99228 . PH: 425-493-8707 . FAX: 425-493-1027 . http://www.VotersWantMoreChoices.com . email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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