Read My Vote: No New Taxes

Dispatches from Seattle.
Dec. 16 1999 3:30 AM

Read My Vote: No New Taxes

Initiative 695 brings right-wing direct democracy to the Evergreen State.

(Continued from Page 1)

The inevitable legal challenges have arrived, but they're all piecemeal, failing to address sweeping constitutional questions. Given that the justices on Washington's Supreme Court are elected, legal pundits say it's more likely that the court will narrow I-695 than overturn it. Meanwhile, Locke has proposed spending about half the reserve fund to bail out local governments--perhaps because he doesn't want to be outflanked by the state auditor who has positioned himself as the Democrat who can make I-695 work (the auditor wants a financial review of all state programs). The Republicans, predictably, want to preserve the surplus, which they call the "rainy-day fund," by outsourcing government services and cutting budgetary "fat."

Advertisement

The $1 billion cushion averts the apocalypse for now. But when the cushion is spent in a year or two, or when the next recession arrives, the disintermediating voters will find themselves playing the roles of budget analysts and tax wonks. What and who will they tax? Will they tax themselves to build highways and create new bus lines? Or will they stay the course and ask government to do more with less?

Instead of waiting for judgment day, watch-salesman Eyman is hastening it with "Son of 695." This tax-cutting initiative, which he is readying for the November 2000 election, will cap annual property-tax appraisals at 2 percent and exempt vehicles from the property tax (on the long shot that the government might start taxing cars as property). And in a final act of disintermediation, Son of 695 retaliates against all these mayors and council members who thought they got the drop on Eyman: It will roll back all taxes and fees increased since July 1999, when I-695 qualified for the ballot.

Rachel Zimmerman is the co-host of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog, and a former health care reporter at the Wall Street Journal.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.