Republicans blame Gov. Chris Gregoire and Democratic lawmakers for the state's budget mess. Gregoire and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown blame the Bush Administration.
Add another to the mix: state Sen. Adam Kline blames initiative pitchman Tim Eyman. From Kline's Senate blog:
My last post spoke of the magnitude of our budget shortfall. I’ll talk about why we find ourselves in this terrible situation. A succession of Tim Eyman-inspired tax cutting initiatives made our cities, counties and the state extremely vulnerable to this nation-wide economic downturn.
He cites Eyman's I-695, which -- with a big assist from then-Gov. Gary Locke and state lawmakers -- largely did away what Kline says was the state's only progressive tax: the pay-more-for-an-expensive-car license tab fee. The came property tax limits (I-722 and 747).
Guess what? We're now taking in so little revenue that we can no longer afford the services that are among the core missions of any government.
Kline writes. Now -- courtesy Eyman's I-960 and a predecessor -- lawmakers wanting to increase taxes to keep key government services going have two choices. They can muster a two-thirds vote from state lawmakers -- which is unlikely -- or they can ask voters statewide to approve the increase. Kline continues:
We would have to go easy because most folks in Washington are experiencing their own budget crises....As the price for my vote to raise taxes, I would insist that we not just raise some existing tax, but literally overhaul our tax structure and aim the tax directly at the discretionary income of wealthy people. Under our current post-Eyman tax structure, the wealthy escape taxation to a distressing degree.