Why the opposition?greenspun.com : LUSENET : I-695 Thirty Dollar License Tab Initiative : One Thread
So can any of the supporters of 695 answer these questions without resorting to Tim Eyman's non-answers that they are either part of the "establishment" or are in fear of the establishment?
Why are the organizations who (in theory) would gain the most from this initiative either opposed to it, or refusing to endorse it?
If this initiative will cause a spectacular boost in the economy, then why is the Association of Washington Businesses the lead group working against it?
Why is a group like the Washington Trucking Association opposed to it?
And why, if the MVET is so harmful now, is the Auto Dealers Association refusing to endorse 695?
These should be some of the lead groups supporting 695 if it is even half the Godsend that its authors claim. But instead they are either working against it, or refusing to endorse it. Any idea why?
-- Patrick (Patrick1142@yahoo.com), August 11, 1999
Patrick, I don't give a damn why they don't support 695. The point is, Myself and many others currenty pay 40% to 50% of our income in taxes. It doesn't matter how much money government has they will spend it all. You can watch local TV and see stories every week on how they waste millions. Government has no problem telling myself and others to take a pay cuts because they need more. We are left to adjusting our lifestyles. One reason business will oppose an issue like this is that in some way they will profit from it.. It is keeps competitors at bay or is some part of their revenue stream. Government will also sometimes punish companies for their support of issues of this nature and they have many ways of doing it. Government will receive more in tax revenues from this tax cut than what they loose. If they don't then they will see what it's like to adjust their lifestyle. It will be healthy a thing for government to see that their are limits. If you don't want to pay just $30.00 for your tabs send in more I'm sure they will be happy to take it and send you a really nice thank you card.
-- James Coats (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 11, 1999.
Alright James, you lost me on your explanation. How is it that businesses will somehow profit from the continuation of this tax, and/ or be able to keep competators out because of it? I can agree that they will profit from a defeat of 695 in that the road projects authorized by R-49 will continue, and they will actually be able to move their products from point A to point B. But the claim is that 695 will create an economic boom. This should not be something that businesses are opposed to, unless they actually profit from a recession. As for keeping other companies at bay, well, a little more specific answer would be in order to explain how that would work.
I've also got to doubt your reply that the government would somehow exact revenge against those who would support this initiative. The AWB has supported other proposals that the government has been against in the past, but they haven't been rubbed out for that. Those organizations are BIG, and they aren't about to be pushed around. That's why they formed their organizations in the first place. So what, you're saying that the state would somehow smite all the car dealers in the state if they supported 695? Well not only would that be REALLY illegal, but it would also be pretty stupid to attack the entire car dealer industry.
You really should care about what these organizations think. They have people who can study this thing a whole lot more in depth that you or I can. And when a group that you would think would make out like a bandit with 695's passage actually opposes it, then that should give you pause to think if it will really benifit you
-- Patrick (Patrick1142@yahoo.com), August 12, 1999.
The reason that the AWB does not support the repeal of the MVET was clearly spelled out in a Tacoma News Tribune front page article recently. So far, over 80% of the tax relief that has occurred in this state has gone directly to business through B&O taxes and similar reductions that have helped reverse the worst of the tax increases for business from the Lowry years. They fear that is I-695 passes the legislature will attempt to raise these again. They consider themselves much more vulnerable to tax increases under a system where voters must approve tax increases, since the voters are much more likely to vote for tax increases on businesses than on themselves, albeit the public always pays in the end regardless.
Patrick, you are incredibly naive if you believe that the AWB, any other trade organizations, the unions, or any other lobbying groups are either significantly brighter than the average person or significantly more motivated for the common good. It's a BUSINESS expense to belong to such groups, because they allow the GROUP to do things that further THEIR interests. That doesn't mean that they will always conflict with the public good, but if there is a conflict, it is almost always resolved in favor of the ECONOMIC interests of the group. I remember when PATCO went out on strike (air traffic control union). I knew PATCO members that openly stated that they hoped there would be mid-air collisions to force Reagan to give in to their demands. Don't confuse self interest with benevolent guidance. It ain't the same thing.
-- Gary Henriksen (email@example.com), August 12, 1999.
You'll have to forgive me if I'm too naive, but I was under the impression that having a healthy business environment is helpful in keeping the economy growning.
I also saw the TNT article. If I'm not mistaken, it also states that businesses make up over 50% of the tax base in this state. Of course the taxes they pay come from the money they make off of consumers, who make their money to pay for those goods by working for the businesses. Funny how it is all interconnected.
I do not presume these businesses to have a significantly higher intellect than me, or be particularly interested in the common good. What I do presume is that they do have people who are quite good at looking a number of steps ahead of the current choices that face us. Otherwise these businesses don't survive very long. By their opposition to 695, I can assume that they don't like what they see several steps ahead if it gets passed. From what is pointed out in the article, they are rightly afraid that they will be the focus of future tax increases. The trade dependent businesses are also concerned that the deteriorating transportation system will continue to make it much harder for them to conduct their trade. Faced with this possibility, these companies will most likely move to a more trade friendly environment. The companies that stay could very well be hit with new taxes. They could respond by either raising prices, downsizing, a combination of the two, or going out of business.
Now all of these actions will be in their own best interests, but I doubt that you'll like that decision if you are one of the individuals who gets downsized or has his job move to some other state. Sure, the best interests of businesses sometimes don't agree with the best interests of the people, but they are quite often interlinked.
So before you're so quick to dismiss the concerns of big business and big labor, you might want to check to see if the interests they are looking out for just happen to coincide with the interests you are looking out for as well.
-- Patrick (Patrick1142@yahoo.com), August 12, 1999.
I believe a low tax environment is good for both businesses AND the taxpayers. As for transportation issues, I'll be glad to discuss what might be done to more effectively address the issues of congestion. In point of fact, many of the things currently being done are for the expressed purpose of increasing congestion (by increasing population density in the cities) and the urban planners frankly admit that in their planning documents and in their quality indicators. See the regional Growth management act http://www.metrokc.gov/exec/orpp/compplan/cppfinal.pdf What this does, BY DESIGN, is to channel further growth into existing urban centers. This is an attempt to duplicate locally policies that have failed in Portland, but are still considered by the urban planners to be the way to revitalize cities http://www.ti.org/FS2.html , http://www.ti.org/FS1.html. The idea is to build up, not out, and restrict new roadways/freeways, utilizing instead mass transit. This is behind Seattles sudden interest in subsidizing low income housing, and building light rail which makes no economic sense compared to buses. The goal is a population density of 5000/sq mile, compared to the current 3000ish. The problem being, of course, that with this increased population density comes increased traffic congestion, which even more buses (and certainly more light rail) doen's completely offset. So if you want to decrease congestion, you probably want to try innovative things like increasing the roadways/freeways per capita, rather than decreasing them. You are a victim of the New Urbanism, not the incipient demise of the MVET.
-- Gary Henriksen (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999.
Patrick, as those before me have pointed out business will further their own interest. I expect that and have no problem with it. I don't need to know why they are against it or for it. What I have a problem with is when someone, be it government, business or anyone else, tells me that they know better how to spend my money. Thats when I have a problem. Government tells us they can't spare a tax cut in bad times because there isn't enough money and in good times we can't have a tax cut because it will bring back the bad times. Are you so foolish that you aren't picking up on this? Is government so well organized that there is no waste? That every penny is so well spent that not even a dime can't be spared? This is a small cut for government but a big cost for tax payers. It hurts those that pay tab fees of $100.00 to 350.00 the most. It represents a larger percent of their money than someone who pays $800.00 to $1000.00 You and I handle pay cuts all the time via tax increases. It is time that government aquired this valuable skill of doing with less money as the citizens it governs have been forced to do. I have a hard time understanding folks like you. Government is out of control and people like yourself have been convinced into helping government grow larger. I fear individuals like yourself more than government. Don't you want freedom? Don't you like doing for yourself? Do you think the world would end if government was prevented from getting every penny that it claims it needs? How old are you and where in the hell did you go to school ? Did you learn anything about free enterprise? To hell with them and anyone else that wants to stop this. I don't want to make it so government can't operate but they need a wake up call and we need much smaller government than we now have.
-- James Coats (email@example.com), August 13, 1999.
Rather than looking at each other's arguments as points to be refuted, how about people actually think about them before replying (read: LISTEN before opening your mouth).
I'm sorry, but it seems to me that I-695's main point is: "We're mad at government and taxes, and rather than actually work at a good solution, we're just going to punch them in the stomach, take their wallet, and run!" Really, that's what's being proposed.
If you want to take the most efficent model, think of government as a business (which of course, it isn't, but it acutally makes my point even better). So, the government has a budget, with expected income (tax revenues) and expenditures (programs, construction, etc.). This is obviously a delicate balance.
So, you're a business, and all of a sudden you find out you have to run the same service and expenditures, but with 30% less income! (see http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/I-695/ for a review of their budget breakdown) You'd laugh, then either a.) go out of business or b.) signifigantly restrict your programs
I'm sorry, but the roads here are bad enough without having to wait 30% longer to get them fixed. I have a relatively expensive SUV, and I pay a figgin fortune for MVET on it, but I understand it and accept it as _part of the business agreement between myself and the state_ when I bought it. WA has said, "Buy a big, expensive car, and you'll pay more for the transportation infrastructure than the guy in the VW next to you." Which is fine, b/c it's better than paying an income tax or anything else.
If you're mad at being taxed and decisions being made by government without your input, fine. Look for a solution which reduces taxes in a rational, appropriate manner. The supporters of I-695 are acting like a 6-year-old in a temper tantrum.
-- Charlie (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 18, 1999.
Thank you Charlie! I myself (still at this point opposed to I-695) have tried to express here how the second section of I-695 actually does appeal to me, whereas the first section, in my view, has negative implications which need to be addressed. A rational compromise, a good step towards making sure both sides can come to an agreement, right? But, still, the maddjak Army picks certain things out of context and goes into its Scorched Earth routine. It makes I- 695 supporters look not like citizens with legitimate grievances (which I believe them for the most part to be), but rather, yes, like sixth graders. I personally want to see more rational arguments in favor of I-695 in this forum. But if no 695 supporter out there can express the logical faults in the arguments of 695 opponents without resorting to epithets like "whiny" and "you people WANT to be taxed into the poorhouse, don't you?", then I just can't take their attempts at rational rhetoric seriously. Indeed, open your mind before you open your mouth!
-- Jeff Stevens (email@example.com), August 18, 1999.
Charlie Explain the rationale of the MVET? Does it decrease pollution? No. It keeps old cars on the road. Does it decrease wear and tear on the road? No, a 1967 Gillig bus converted to a camper pays less MVET than a new VW bug, and I assure you the bug is less wearing on the roads. Does it fund roads? Only barely. FAR more goes to transit and ferries. What it IS is a revenue device, poorly thought out, inequitable in many respects, but it brings in money, about 2% of the money going to state and local government, not 30%. It used to go to the general fund mostly, but since Ref 49 (an attempt to preempt I-695), it was given it's current distribution. Guess what, the legislature can reshuffle the cards and fund everything at 98% of the original. The current distribution is not carved in stone. They've also got a billion dollar (and growing) surplus generated by 601 to use to cushion the effects of I-695 until they've had a chance to do the reallocation.
-- Gary Henriksen (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 18, 1999.
Just a guess...... not really criticism you understand, but I think people would be less likely to use words like whiney if you, er, uh, (how to put this delicately)...... whined less.
-- Craig Carson (email@example.com), August 18, 1999.
Craig, I've said several times here that I WELCOME criticism which is CONSTRUCTIVE. But calling someone a "whiner" takes about as much grey matter as calling someone a "dumbs**t". It doesn't get anything accomplished vis-a-vis letting that person know what specific fault you find in their thinking. If you want me to see things your way try addressing the specific faults in my arguments, and leave the epithets to the WWF crew. Consider this: I could just as easily dismiss the 695 point of view that the MVET is unfair as "whining." But I don't because I can understand it from the supporters point of view. Still, at present I don't happen to think 695 as it currently is written is the answer. Show me the logical flaws in my arguments and I'll take your viewpoint seriously. Might even change my mind if I see enough intelligence among I-695 supporters. But right now, thanks to the likes of you & Westin & maddjak (oh, that wacky maddjak!) the ratio just keeps getting worse!
-- Jeff Stevens (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 20, 1999.
"whiner" is an epithet??? You must live a real sheltered life on campus. Heaven help the whiners of Washington, their self esteems are crushed with a boo hoo hoo, and o'er the land, their thin skinned band will waa waa and caterwaul for-ev-er. Go Huskies go! Whine Huskies whine! Go, GO, whine, WHINE Huskies!
-- Craig Carson (email@example.com), August 21, 1999.
Charlie and Jeff, I suggest that we encourage the 695 supporters along their current path of 6th grade tirades. Look at all the letters to the editor in local papers using the same "steaming mad at the government" emotion as the basis of their argument and the 5 or so stock quotes that Tim Eyman spouts out whenever somebody in government announces what cuts they are planning if 695 passes. We've had about a month and a half of this as their primary argument, and what has happened? Initial widespread support of the concept decreased by 20% in one month. It may make them feel a whole lot better when they can rant at the government, but in reality, it doesn't sell very well to the mainstream voter. When the average voter hears that their county or city government plans to reduce or eliminate funding for a program that they see the positive effects of every day, and the only rebuttle they hear is that such talk is "scare tactics" it DOES NOT sell them on supporting the initiative. They want to hear HOW voting for 695 will not eliminate projects that they approve of, not some hazy reply that "oh, they'll make it up somehow."
And Gary, you're right, the MVET is a revenue generating tax and nothing more. It was NEVER designed to reduce polution or try to push people towards lighter cars. So pointing out how it doesn't do these things is a straw man argument. But tell me, will 695 encourage people to trade in their older cars for more efficient newer cars, or heavier, less efficient, more polluting SUV's?
Your comment that the MVET only "barely" funds roadwork is a shakey opinion as well. $295 million isn't exactly chump change when it comes to the total amount of the road construction budget. You're also seemingly forgetting that it is (will) almost singlehandedly finance several billion dollars worth of pure road construction over the next 5 years. Oh, and R-49 WAS NOT an attempted end-run around a 695 like inititative. It was an alternative to a proposed increase in the gas tax to fund new road construction with the $30 reduction added to assure public support.
Yeah, they've got a billion dollar reserve that they could tap. Of course it takes a 2/3 vote to even consider using that money. If you think that has a chance at happening, then I have a bridge in New York that I'd like to sell you.
I know there will be a bunch of "I suppose you like your money being stolen" replies to this post, and quite possibly Monte will add one of his canned statements like "families can't afford it." Bring them on. They may bring a smile to the other supporters here on this board, but they certainly aren't helping
-- Patrick (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 21, 1999.
"And Gary, you're right, the MVET is a revenue generating tax and nothing more. It was NEVER designed to reduce polution or try to push people towards lighter cars. So pointing out how it doesn't do these things is a straw man argument." Absolutely correct, now if you will read the context, this was my response to Jeff's assertion that pollution and congestion would go up if I-695 passed. I agree it's a straw man argument, but the argument was made by the opponents of I-695, not me.
"But tell me, will 695 encourage people to trade in their older cars for more efficient newer cars, or heavier, less efficient, more polluting SUV's?" Actually, most modern SUVs are more efficient and less polluting than many of the earlier model cars still on the road, even if the latter didn't need ring jobs which an awful lot apparently do. They don't keep stocking high test gas for SUVs, they use regular. And the weight of many SUVs (RAV4, Subaru, Pathfinder, Fourrunner) is no more than the weight of the older cars. "Your comment that the MVET only "barely" funds roadwork is a shakey opinion as well. $295 million isn't exactly chump change when it comes to the total amount of the road construction budget." I agree IF YOU COMPARE IT TO THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE ROAD CONSTRUCTION BUDGET. But it is far less than King County alone pays for transit, and dwarfed by the $2 Billion we are about to pay for light rail from the UW to Sea-Tac that will cover 1.2% of the Seattle Metro area. You make my point. We have disastrously underfunded road construction for years, and over funded transit. Our current congestion is the direct result of the UGMA and conscious decisions NOT TO fund needed capital improvements to the roads.
-- Gary Henriksen (email@example.com), August 21, 1999.
New car registrations are 25% lower than the national average. The department of Revenue attributes this to the high licensing fees. And Yes, Jeff, families can't afford it.
The average Washington taxpayer must earn $1.60 to be able to spend $1.00. If you can afford this high rate of taxation more power to you, but I can't and a lot of other people can't either. Apparently only the rich can afford to pay the high taxes.
If you want the government to have more of YOUR money, please send it in, but don't try to force everyone else to.
-- RD (Monte) Benham (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 22, 1999.
On this subject in my travels talking to the common citizen I can't seem to find anyone wanting to vote no on 695. Any of you folks finding any common citizens wanting to?
-- bob (email@example.com), August 28, 1999.
Bob- I live in the Tri-Cities. I tend to agree with you. Everyone I've talked to, even the liberals are voting for it. Plus one said I'd have to beat him to the polls to get my vote in before him.
-- Ed (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 29, 1999.
Around here the politicians are afraid to fight it because they will lose forever the votes of those who support it. Moreover, they don't want to waste their time. They are getting their impact statements together for the emergency session they hope and believe will be coming in January to reallocate the state funding. They are also doing a long overdue sorting of wheat from chaff in their own budgets.
-- Craig Carson (email@example.com), August 29, 1999.