I-1077 and a Look into the Future of Washington State

Apr 22, 2010

Today the following picture and caption appeared in The Spokesman Review in a story about State Initiative 1077. 

Nora Kelley, vice president of the Service Employees International Union, assembles information packets Wednesday in Seattle on an initiative to establish a state income tax on wealthy residents.

Income taxes have been proposed in Washington several times in recent decades and have never been adopted.  This morning’s Spokesman has the details on a new proposal.

Fortunately, the people of Washington State need only look around the nation and the world to see what their future holds should they pass this public sector union backed tax hike.  

The citizens of New Jersey have the highest tax burden of any state in the nation.  Yet the public sector employee unions continue to push for higher taxes rather than accept cuts or even freezes to the growth of their generous pay, benefits and pensions.  George Will discussed the dire straits in which New Jersey finds itself in this morning’s Washington Post.

If we look even further into the future of Washington State should it start down the path of bending to the will of the public sector unions by raising taxes rather than finding ways to reduce government spending, we need only head further east to Greece.  The Associated Press today reported that things are getting worse on all fronts there; the past 24 hours have been particularly telling.

Civil servants staged a 24-hour strike Thursday against austerity measures and expected job cuts by Greece's crisis-plagued government, and the EU's statistics agency said the country's budget was even worse than previously thought.

The strike disrupted public services, shut down schools and left state hospitals working with emergency staff. Protesters from a Communist-backed trade union blockaded Athens' main port of Piraeus, disrupting ferry services.

Eurostat, meanwhile raised Greece's budget deficit in 2009 to 13.6 percent of gross domestic product from its earlier prediction of 12.9 percent, while the ratio of government debt to GDP stood at 115.1 percent, the second highest in the European Union after Italy.

Our current framework whereby civil servants unionize and then put their considerable resources of PAC money and campaign volunteers behind politicians who deliver endless increases to the pay and benefits of these employees is completely unsustainable. 

States like California and New Jersey are in a desperate situation that is driving the brightest entrepreneurs to leave for states like Washington, Tennessee and Texas that have no income tax and less profligate governments.  For the people of Washington State not to learn from these examples would be to invite the same disastrous consequences here.

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