Four times the voters have approved initiatives requiring a two-thirds vote to raise taxes and a majority vote to increase fees. Four times. Yet despite 1053’s 64 percent “yes” vote last year, Olympia repeatedly violated it.
Initiative 1125 closes loopholes they put in 1053. I-1125 requires, again, that fee increases be decided by elected representatives of the people, not unelected bureaucrats at state agencies.
1125 ensures accountability and transparency.
Voters overwhelmingly rejected a state income tax last year. How did Olympia respond? They started pushing “anything goes” tolls which would be even worse.
In July, the Seattle Times reported: “After years of acting gingerly, the House Transportation Chair said the state may be ready as early as next year for tolled highways as a gridlike, interconnected system instead of being implemented piecemeal. This approach – toll all the major roads – was in a recent report for the Seattle Mayor.”
The Seattle Weekly recently editorialized: “People of all political stripes are bound to feel under assault from the battery of tolls that are now under discussion. To bureaucrats, tolling seems to be like alcohol or pie: once they get a taste, they can’t seem to stop.”
I-1125 requires transportation taxes only be used for transportation. Our state imposes one of the highest gas taxes in the nation, collecting billions every year. Before the government double-taxes us with burdensome tolls – forcing us to pay twice – I-1125 stops transportation revenue from being diverted to non-transportation purposes.
In these tough times, the idea of government taking thousands of dollars per year out of family budgets is really scary. People are hurting, and yet Olympia is nonetheless sneaking forward with “anything goes” tolls that are just taxes by another name.
If there’s going to be tolls, there needs to be accountability and transparency. Without it, tolls will never be accepted by the citizenry. A toll, by definition, is a specific charge used to pay for a specific project. Current law requires tolls to be project-specific – I-1125 reaffirms that basic protection.
Tolls aren’t taxes and I-1125 keeps it that way.
Last year’s I-1053 required tolls to be set by the elected representatives of the people. Even in these tough times, citizens might be willing to accept that. But auto-pilot tolls imposed by a bunch of unelected bureaucrats at state agencies? Not a chance.
Taxpayers will never accept giving unelected bureaucrats a blank check, granting them unlimited power to impose burdensome tolls without any accountability to the people.
In the entire history of our state, tolls have always expired after the project is paid for. But Olympia recently repealed that protection. So without I-1125, tolls will continue forever – once a toll is imposed, it will never go away. I-1125 reinstates the longstanding guarantee that once a project is paid for, the toll will go away.
Politicians are seriously out-of-touch if they think citizens will accept auto-pilot, never-ending tolls without any accountability or transparency.
It’s certainly not a surprise that unelected bureaucrats don’t like I-1125 because it takes away their power to tax and toll. The opponents of I-1125 are the same forces that pushed last year’s state income tax and opposed last year’s tougher-to-raise-taxes I-1053. It makes sense. I-1125 simply reinforces the voters’ mandate last November: that taking more of the people’s money has to be an absolute last resort.
I-1125 reinstates I-1053’s voter approved protections, closes loopholes and reinforces existing statutory and constitutional protections. Let me say that again: I-1125 simply reaffirms laws and the state Constitution’s 18th Amendment which have been protecting taxpayers for decades.
Citizens have to follow the law and abide by the Constitution – the government should too. Politicians’ plans need to comply with the Constitution and voter-approved laws – that’s what I-1125 requires them to do.
Before this year’s session began, Governor Gregoire said: “I’m not gonna let I-1053 stand in the way of me moving forward for what I think is right.”
Voters approved Initiative I-1053 by a huge margin – don’t let Olympia get away with violating it.
Vote YES (again).
In these tough times, it’s more important than ever to approve Initiative I-1125.
Tim Eyman is one of the co-sponsors of “Son of 1053” I-1125, 425-493-9127, www.VotersWantMoreChoices.com