Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I-1033 threatens Washington’s future

As a result of the current budget crisis, many of Washington’s vital coastal resources programs have suffered severe cutbacks. For example, the State Department of Ecology made deep cuts to oil spill prevention and response programs and cut litter crews working to prevent garbage from entering Puget Sound in half.

Despite these hard budget times, there is reason to be hopeful for Washington’s future because the economy seems to be rebounding. That is, unless I-1033 passes. This is the TABOR initiative that will be on your ballot this November. The language might be confusing, but make no mistake, if I-1033 passes, this measure ensures that the State never recovers from the budget crisis of 2009 -- the worst in Washington history. State spending levels will be frozen.

Even in good economic times, when revenues should be strong and allow lawmakers to collect for a rainy day fund, our State’s revenues will instead stay at the current depressed levels. And to make matters worse, if we ever suffer another budget downturn, the State’s budget will fall again to even more depressed levels without being able to rebound. In Colorado, where the same measure passed in 1992, they call this the "ratchet effect".

As a result of TABOR, Colorado has become one of the Nation's poorest funded and poorest performing states. Despite having one of the highest per capita incomes, Colorado is 47th out of the 50 states for K-12 public education spending. Let's not let this happen to Washington. Deeper cuts to the programs we care about, including oil spills prevention, is not the future we want. To learn more visit:

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