Washington Tax Limitation Act, Initiative 722 (2000)

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The Washington Tax Limitation Initiative, also known as Initiative Measure 722, was on the November 7, 2000 election ballot as an Initiative to the People in Washington, where it was approved. This initiative limited property tax increases to 2% per year and nullified certain 1999 tax increases.

Election results

Washington Initiative 722 (2000)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,295,391 55.89%
No1,022,34944.11%

Election results via the Washington Secretary of State.[1]

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[2]

Shall certain 1999 tax and fee increases be nullified, vehicles exempted from property taxes, and property tax increases (except new construction) limited to 2% annually?[3]

Support

Arguments in favor

These arguments in support appeared in the official State of Washington Voter Guide:[4]

POLITICIANS OVERREACTED TO 1-695 BY RAISING TAXES IN 1999- 270,000 PETITION SIGNERS THINK THAT'S UNFAIR

In the final months of 1999, politicians throughout the state increased many taxes and fees in an obvious attempt to get around 1-695's voter-approval-for-tax-increases requirement (which started January, 2000}. They were premature - the Legislature prioritized programs previously funded by license tab fees and used part of the $1 billion tax surplus to help them. Isn't it fair for 1-722 to now get rid of those unfair increases?' (voter approved tax increases -like school levies- would not be invalidated). If politicians think their tax increases are truly needed, they can reintroduce them and voters can decide whether they're necessary or not.

POLITICIANS ALSO CIRCUMVENTED 1-695 BY SHIFTING MORE TAXES ONTO PROPERTY OWNERS- 1-722 STOPS THEM

1-722 prevents property tax assessors from sticking our vehicles on the property tax rolls (as they repeatedly threatened to do) and prevents them from jacking up property taxes to get around 1-695's voter approval requirement. 1-722 limits property tax increases to a fair 2% annual cap. Property taxes are simply skyrocketing in our state - unless we defuse this "property tax time bomb" now with 1-722, only rich people will be able to afford a home in Washington.

THE GOVERNMENT WILL OBVIOUSLY ADJUST TO 1-722 (THE SAME WAY WE ADJUST WHEN THEY RAISE OUR TAXES)

As far·as "lost revenue" is concerned, politicians simply can't complain - 1-722 doesn't take away any more money from the government than they had in 1999. Besides, even after the passage and implementation of 1-695, the government still has a $1 billion tax surplus.

WE KNEW OUR INITIATIVE WOULD BE ATTACKED, SO WE PURPOSELY MADE 1-722 A VERY MODERATE PROPOSAL

1-722 doesn't slash property taxes, it simply limits property tax increases. Please vote "Yes" and tell the politicians to stop ignoring the taxpayers- after all, we're paying the bills.

For more information, call 425.493.8707 or visit www.i-722.org.

Rebuttal of Statement Against

When voters overwhelmingly approved 1-695 last year, they expected $30 tabs and voter-approval-for-tax- increases. 1-722 is necessary to reaffirm voters' intent-"tax and fee increases imposed without voter approval are unacceptable." Let's protect our rights! And under 1-722, no one will pay more for property taxes, everyone will pay less. 1-722 carefully follows state supreme court rulings and exercises a legitimate exemption to ensure neighborhood preservation by making property tax increases predictable and uniform. Vote "Yes." [3]

Supporters

The following individuals signed the argument in support of Initiative 722 in the State of Washington's official voter guide:

  • Tim Eyman, anti-tax advocate
  • Monte Benham
  • Jack Fagan
  • Conrad Krack
  • Ted Theodore
  • Diane Aubrey

Opposition

Arguments against

These arguments in opposition appeared in the official State of Washington Voter Guide:[5]

Voters in Washington State sent a message last year when they approved Initiative 695, which reduced the tax on auto tabs. The impacts are still being sorted out. It is not time to impose "the Son of 695" until the consequences are fully realized.

I-722 IS UNNECESSARY.

Initiative 722 would exempt vehicles from the property tax. The Legislature has already exempted them, making this measure unnecessary.

1-722 IS UNFAIR.

This initiative would change the property tax in a way that would shift the burden of the tax. Owners of expensive property would pay less than they would under the current system and owners of average or less valuable property would pay more than under the current system. This initiative hurts small farmers, residents and businesses in rural areas. Owners of property with stable or falling value would pay more under Initiative 722 than they would pay under the present system, which is based on fair market value. People who are already struggling will be hurt the most.

1-722 IS A PIECEMEAL EFFORT TO ADDRESS COMPLEX TAX PROBLEMS.

No one likes to pay taxes, but some taxes are necessary. Our tax system should be fair, comprehensive and care- fully thought out. Initiative 722 would take further steps to reduce taxes for the wealthy and impose them on the middle class. It is the wrong measure, at the wrong time.

1-722 WILL SURELY FACE A COURT CHALLENGE.

Many believe these tax changes will not meet the requirements of the state Constitution. Vote No on 1-722.

Rebuttal of Statement For

1-722 irresponsibly depletes our state's emergency fund and weakens our ability to save. Prudent family budgeters know better. Here's the real story. Expecting 1-695 shortages, elected officials acted to protect public services essential to our most vulnerable-elderly, children, disabled. Legislators didn't circumvent 1-695. They passed SSB6115 exempting vehicles from property tax. Don't be fooled. 1-722 is not "moderate"-it provides windfalls for high-value property owners by shifting the burden to small homeowners and businesses.[3]

Opponents

The following individuals signed the argument in opposition of Initiative 722 in the State of Washington's official voter guide:

  • Elizabeth Pierini, President, League of Women Voters of Washington
  • Tom Albro, Chairman, Municipal League of King County
  • Gene Lux, President, People for Fair Taxes

Path to the ballot

Initiative 722 was filed on January 28, 2000 by Tim Eyman of Mukilteo, Leo J. Fagan of Spokane and Ray D. Benham of Kennewick. 272,678 signatures were collected to qualify it for the ballot. The measure was placed on the ballot as provided for by the state constitution.[6]

See also

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