"The sky won't fall,
November 8, 2001 10:39 AM   Subscribe

"The sky won't fall, it will probably just trickle down." On whom? (Guess who.) Out here in Washington State voters just approved another in a series of initiatives that, collectively, choke off the state government's primary funding sources. What else are the results of the initiative process around the country? And are The People responsible enough to be trusted with it?
posted by argybarg (30 comments total)

 
Your choking off of the states money is another man's return of the money to the people. The state has no imminent domain on your income, and if people are finally starting to insist on keeping whats theirs, more power to them, I say.

Commencing Taxation Battle, Standard Form, Third Variation.
posted by jammer at 11:07 AM on November 8, 2001


I don't think there's anything wrong with democractic process here. If the city is truly that strapped for cash it'll show in the near future and thus bringing another demagogue demanding the city fix the streets with a "rational, fair, and sane look at our tax codes."
posted by skallas at 11:31 AM on November 8, 2001


I do not like Tim Eyman and think this initiative process is shady. It looks like I-747 will be tested on the grounds of its constitutionality (?) and may have portions tossed like I-695 and I-722. I wish Mr Eyman would either go away or run for public office. End rant here.
posted by MetalHead at 11:54 AM on November 8, 2001


State legislators have passed plenty of bad laws over the years, including Jim Crow and black code laws, if you'll consult your history books. The people make bad decisions, sure, but so do their representatives, who they of course elect. The problem with initiatives is information (well distributed? balanced? well publicized in general?), bad election timing and interest group-organized petitions that are not watched closely enough by the people, the press, etc. Also problematic are badly written, long or jargon-filled questions. Also, too many initiatives on one ballot can cause voter fatique. Limited information and bounded rationality can cause problems in voter decision-making, just as they can with officials' decision-making.

That being said, initiative should never be dominant. It's just too much for people to handle, methinks.
posted by raysmj at 11:55 AM on November 8, 2001


uneducated, civilly ignorant, knee-jerk citizens deserve to get what they vote for. and they often vote to throw out the baby with the bathwater. schools, not local government, is where the money gets burned. but to the self-righteous anti-tax morons i've met, tax is tax. so, let 'em form a bucket brigade when the house burns. i'll lend support by pissing on the smoldering cinders, and reminding them loudly that they got what they wanted.
posted by quonsar at 11:56 AM on November 8, 2001


The state has no imminent [sic] domain on your income

Do you think public services grow on trees? Next time you have an emergency, don't call 911, the police or the fire department. Next time you have to drive to work, don't take a road. Next time you have to cross a river, don't take a bridge. Next time you need education, don't go to a school.

I don't think there's anything wrong with democractic process here.

This is not a democratic process. Initiative campaigns of this type are usually heavily fund by wealthy interests.
Down here in Oregon, we have Bill Sizemore, a man who personally profits from initiative campaigns that cut back as much taxes as possible for his wealthy friends. And it works. The educational system is lagging due to Measure 5 from a few years ago. Every year, Sizemore's Oregon Taxpayers United does more to chip away at any decency this state has left.
posted by billder at 12:02 PM on November 8, 2001


Tim Eyman is a fucking tool who abuses the initiative process mainly to garner attention for Tim Eyman. His last two initiatives were struck down as unconstitutional, and this one looks like it might be headed for the same fate:

"Legal Challenge

Cities and towns may wish to consult their attorneys about possible legal issues raised by the initiative. Some local government entities have investigated the possibility of launching a challenge because I-747 amends I-722, rather than the underlying law that remained in effect once I-722 was found unconstitutional."

(Source)
posted by Skot at 12:07 PM on November 8, 2001


This is not a democratic process. Initiative campaigns of this type are usually heavily fund by wealthy interests.

Why isn't this democratic again? Your local politics and state legislature isn't exactly immune from wealthy interests.
posted by skallas at 12:17 PM on November 8, 2001


Wow. If this guy, Lon Mabon, and Bill Sizemore (both infamous in my beloved home state of Oregon) got more press, it would seriously affect the rest of the country's ability to understand that the pac-NW is in fact a very progressive region. You know, with things like legal assisted suicide (oh, wait, no. Captain Ashcroft has flown in from Missouri to show us the error of our heathen ways) and decriminalized marijuana possession (eek--feds again. Ehm. Wait, that's my states' rights republicans turning out to be *gasp* only for states' rights when it comes to gutting environmental controls or forcing kids to pray in school. Whole different rant altogether. Where was I?)
Oh yeah. The northwest is going to get a bad rap because of knuckleheads like these guys... wait a minute! Maybe this will curtail the hordes of people moving into the region. Hmm.
And now for a joke:
Q. Why is the Columbia Gorge so windy?
A. Because Idaho sucks.
posted by willpie at 12:25 PM on November 8, 2001


time to rev up the lottery.

i adoregon <3
posted by kliuless at 1:12 PM on November 8, 2001


Well said Skot. I guess I was trying to be polite. I like your approach a little better.

Think I could get enough signatures to prevent Tim Eyman from proposing another initiative in WA. Just a thought.
posted by MetalHead at 1:14 PM on November 8, 2001


Careful billder, there are a lot of 4x4 fans in Washington, and a rhetorical suggestion about bypassing roads and bridges might just sound like an invitation...

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:20 PM on November 8, 2001


The state has no imminent [sic] domain on your income

Do you think public services grow on trees?


Do you think the existence of public services is a justification for any and all forms of taxation?
posted by ljromanoff at 1:51 PM on November 8, 2001


Do you think the existence of public services is a justification for any and all forms of taxation?

Plurium interrogationum. (And in the territory of bifurcation and a few others as well.)
posted by holgate at 2:39 PM on November 8, 2001


The proposition system here in California is silly, I mean if we're going to vote on everything in a kneejerk campaign financed by billionaires on issue after issue - why have a legislature or governor?
posted by owillis at 2:42 PM on November 8, 2001


[and a small voice in the corner says...]

....why indeed?
posted by UncleFes at 2:46 PM on November 8, 2001


I felt absolutely sure nobody would vote for I-747. Every editorial board I know of advised its readers against it, everyone I talked agreed that it was bogus.. hell, even the local NPR station seemed to break journalistic objectivity (a rarity these days, I know) to at least imply how bad it was. So, when I woke up and found it had been voted in, I did a simpsonsesque "Whaaaaaaaa?" which I still relapse into from time to time.

Tim Eyman has done way more harm than good over the past few years, and while I respect the idea of that a single private citizen can change the legislature, I think it's sad that in order to do it, he has, without fail, pandered to the public's desire to save themselves a buck at the expense of public services. (I.e. luxury items like the fire department)
posted by Hildago at 3:00 PM on November 8, 2001


Tim Eyman's a major-league a**hole, to paraphrase a certain vice-president of ours.

Why is it so many people like to say "Hey, let's pay less taxes- the government can always find a way to provide the same services with less revenue" as if 'the gub'mint' possesses some magical power to approach the limit=0 of revenue without any tradeoffs whatsoever? Yet these same people would raise holy hell if you ever even suggested "Hey, why don't you take a cut in pay- you can always find a way to maintain the same lifestyle you're accustomed to on less income"...

It's time's like these I'm reminded that yes, people really are that stupid, and they get the government they deserve. Sadly, there's virtually no way to tell "the people" that they shot their own damn selves in the foot with their short-sighted goal of slashing taxes at the same they demand more services. Heck, you say that publicly, and the morons just get all pissed at you and vote for the white-toothed politician speaking in soothing tones about that magical, happy fairy land of gumdrops and bunny rabbits where you can pay no taxes but live out a Utopian dream of great schools, low crime, and no traffic problems.
posted by hincandenza at 5:19 PM on November 8, 2001


Do you think the existence of public services is a justification for any and all forms of taxation?

Plurium interrogationum. (And in the territory of bifurcation and a few others as well.)


Responding to a simplification with a simplifcation, there, Nick. Again, try reading the whole thread.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:38 PM on November 8, 2001


INITIATIVES

Initiative 747, sponsored by Tim Eyman and his "Permanent Offense"
organization, would limit property tax growth to 1 percent a year for each
taxing district, unless voters approve a larger levy. Current law allows taxes
to rise with inflation, or up to 6 percent a year if local officials approve it by
a supermajority.

Foes, using the image of the firefighter in their television ads and fliers, say
the initiative would hamstring local governments and lead to budget cuts.

Eyman says the initiative merely limits the tax growth and that local leaders
can always take larger requests to the ballot. He says governments can cut
fat, use reserves and reprioritize their spending.

Initiative 773 would boost the cigarette tax by 60 cents a pack and increase other tobacco taxes to
the highest level in the country. Backers say that would discourage people, particularly youth, from
taking up the habit. Sponsors would dedicate the extra revenue, about $100 million a year, to pay for
anti-tobacco programs and to add up to 50,000 people to the state's subsidized health care program.

Foes say the tax is confiscatory and would hurt the poor the most. They also say the tobacco tax is a
declining source of revenue and might leave the Legislature holding the bag for expensive new health
costs.
Limiting to 1% growth, unless permission is given to go higher. Highest cigarette taxes in the country. I don't see the problem (other than the smokers are getting screwed again), I am guessing the idea of what public services people really want will find it's level with what they are willing to pay. I approve. There is a town in Illinois that has been doing much the same for the last 5 years, and they are doing well, if sightly spartan.
posted by thirteen at 5:51 PM on November 8, 2001


Crud, I did not notice that in the preview. Here is the sorce of my blockquote, lest I get accused of bias.
posted by thirteen at 5:53 PM on November 8, 2001


Responding to a simplification with a simplifcation, [sic] there, Nick.

Tu quoque, and one based on false premises as well.

Again, try reading the whole thread.

As I did. You should try it one day. And it's developing well without your trying to corral it into a rather dull and familiar enclosure with questions that are posed in a manner designed to trivialise, polarise and manipulate the terms of the debate. This isn't Fox News, after all. And it's "holgate", thank you.
posted by holgate at 6:25 PM on November 8, 2001


On more substantive issues, the case of Bristol's council tax referendum is both depressing and instructive: given a four-way choice of possible increases, from a freeze that meant a real-terms cut, up to a 6% increase, most voters chose a freeze. And of those who voted, in a 40% turnout, the poorest families were also those voting with their wallets, even though they had said in pre-referendum polls that they supported higher public spending on schools, libraries and other community services. And, as usual, the very poorest tended not to vote at all. It's that disjunction -- between an expressed desire for public investment, and an equally expressed desire not to be hit with the bill -- which dooms high-profile initiatives like that in Washington to success. After all, it's only after the smoke clears that the teacher redundancies and library closures take place, leaving local government to take the rap for decisions made by the electorate.
posted by holgate at 6:47 PM on November 8, 2001


Of course, King County, which voted against I-747, essentially supports the rest of the state with the taxes it pays. It reminds me of all the people from Alaska I've met who are libertarians--easy enough to be one in a state that gets five times more federal revenue in than it pays out. The same thing happens here in Washington, so all with I-747, all the yahoos we urbanites essentially support voted for it and it passed. Who says there ain't a free lunch?

My plan is this: I-666--Put It On Tim Eyman's VISA.
All budgetary shortfalls to be paid by the people who created the initiatives causing them.
posted by y2karl at 7:31 PM on November 8, 2001


Funny, no one here mentioned the outcomes of the gay rights initatives and referenda held Tuesday, even though there was an earlier thread about it. Came out pretty darn well, overall, depending on your vantage point. Four-for-five in favor of gay rights, except in Houston, where voters decided to ban the city from providing benefits to domestic partners.
posted by raysmj at 8:30 PM on November 8, 2001


Tu quoque, and one based on false premises as well.

Time to freshen up on your Logic 101, Nick, if you're going to try to keep throwing around the terminology.

questions that are posed in a manner designed to trivialise, polarise and manipulate the terms of the debate

The manipulative suggestion was that anyone who had a philosophical objection to the concept of the rights of the government superseding the rights of the individual re: personal wealth must therefore be opposed to all public services, or has never considered the consequences of said belief. But reading comprehension was never your strong point.

And it's "holgate", thank you.

Whatever, Nickie.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:01 AM on November 9, 2001


Funny, no one here mentioned the outcomes of the gay rights initatives and referenda held Tuesday, even though there was an earlier thread about it.

raysmj, thanks for the update. I'd been meaning to do one. I'm particularly pleased about the result in Traverse City, Michigan, having lived there years ago. Not a big place, but an important part of America's Third Coast.
posted by Carol Anne at 6:07 AM on November 9, 2001


The manipulative suggestion was that anyone who had a philosophical objection to the concept of the rights of the government superseding the rights of the individual re: personal wealth must therefore be opposed to all public services, or has never considered the consequences of said belief.

Except that wasn't what you asked. You offered up a question based around absolutes ("the existence of...", "all and every"), that demanded a yes/no answer ("do you believe"), of which the "yes" option was designed to be untenable, thus skewing the argument towards a standard libertarian polarisation of self and social. Manufacture of Consent 101. Not buying it.

But reading comprehension was never your strong point.

La la la la la la la la la la. Coming up with original insults is obviously not yours. Twice in one week? That crib-sheet of yours must be printed on just one side.

Whatever, Nickie.

Sure, Grappleboy. [As someone noted in an email, it's frankly not worth bothering with "the sort of guy who believes in (and writes appreciative reviews of) professional wrestling."]
posted by holgate at 7:42 AM on November 9, 2001


Except that wasn't what you asked. You offered up a question based around absolutes ("the existence of...", "all and every")

Just as billder made an absolutist assumption that anyone who might hold a certain philosophical position has no consideration for public services and that the elimation of certain taxes would mean the elimination of all public services. Simplification for simplification, absolute for absolute.

Coming up with original insults is obviously not yours. Twice in one week?

When you keep exhibiting the same form of ignorance, what else can I do but point it out twice?

[As someone noted in an email, it's frankly not worth bothering with "the sort of guy who believes in (and writes appreciative reviews of) professional wrestling."]

Well, I guess you won't be bothering with owillis, Zool, tranquileye, maurice, irishcreme, ParisParamus, jpoulos, harmful, fullerine, and beefula then, either. I'm sure they'll all be thrilled to hear that.
posted by ljromanoff at 2:15 PM on November 9, 2001


Yeah, don't make fun of ancient religious rituals
posted by y2karl at 11:58 PM on November 9, 2001


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