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Realtors Against 1033

September 23rd, 2009 by Steven Gardner

We don’t make much out of endorsements, as the Kitsap County Association of Realtors can probably attest. That group came out with a list of endorsements, which I’ll post at the bottom of this letter, but we didn’t put it in print. A lot of groups endorse things. Were we to name all of them that’s all we’d be printing. We don’t want to ignore them, necessarily, but we don’t want to get yelled at for missing one either.

The parent of the local real estate professionals, Washington Realtors, sent an announcement that surprised me. The organization is officially against Initiative 1033. As I mentioned, I was surprised, but perhaps I shouldn’t have been. The group supported Dino Rossi for governor in 2008, but also backed a gas tax increase in 2005. Maybe that should tell me that the group is not predictably conservative.

As for 1033, which would limit government growth to inflation plus population growth, the state organization says it trusts the governor and Legislature to keep spending in line, that the initiative process shouldn’t be used in this case. From the press release, the full copy of which I’ll post after the jump:

“The legislature and the governor proved last spring that they can address the state’s budget problems without increasing taxes,” said Greg Wright, 2009 President of the Washington Realtors. “Rather than turn these complex public policy issues over to the initiative process, we should hold our elected representatives accountable for meeting state and local needs within existing revenue.”

Eyman later issued a response, not so much to the Realtors alone, but to the claim that the “No on 1033″ crowd has a lot of group support.

“Groups don’t vote, people do. Voters decide how to vote on initiatives based on their own experiences and values — they don’t look to ‘groups’ to tell them how to think — they think for themselves.”

The list of I-1033 group opposition is long, including Washington ACORN. The Realtors endorsement is new enough that it wasn’t on the list, but in my glance at it I didn’t see any other surprises.

Following are the press release by Washington Realtors and the one by Eyman.

OLYMPIA, WA – Initiative 1033 poses a threat to the quality of Washington schools, roads and other infrastructure, and basic services, according to the Washington Association of REALTORS®, who today announced the large organization will not support the measure. Initiative 1033 would cap revenue collections by the state, cities, and counties based on inflation and population growth.

“The legislature and the governor proved last spring that they can address the state’s budget problems without increasing taxes,” said Greg Wright, 2009 President of the Washington Realtors. “Rather than turn these complex public policy issues over to the initiative process, we should hold our elected representatives accountable for meeting state and local needs within existing revenue.”

The melt-down of financial institutions and the recession since fall 2008 generated a $9 billion gap in the state operating budget, which the Legislature managed to close without a general tax increase. Although a recent September 2009 report from the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council declared the recession to be over, Wright said state and local governments must continue to limit both spending and taxes in order to support economic recovery in Washington state.

“The economy is looking up, but we’re a long way from full recovery—and tax increases will simply delay the economic come-back that Washington families so desperately need,” said Wright, a Chelan Realtor. “We all should be focusing on how to improve the quality of life in Washington communities. That means good jobs, safe and beautiful communities, and strong schools.”

In August, the Washington Realtors’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee reviewed the provisions of I-1033 and delivered a “do-not-support” recommendation to the organization’s Legislative Steering Committee. Today the committee adopted the recommendation, voting on behalf of its more than 19,000 members.


Just finished an UPFRONT KING 5 debate on I-1033 that will air on Saturday and Sunday. I-1033′s opponent touted the ‘impressive’ list of groups opposing I-1033. Look at all our groups, he said.

Groups don’t vote, people do.

Voters decide how to vote on initiatives based on their own experiences and values — they don’t look to ‘groups’ to tell them how to think — they think for themselves.

During the campaigns for I-695, I-722, I-747, I-776, I-900, and I-960, we were always asked: “there’s a long list of groups opposed to your initiative, how can you possibly win?” Because none of those groups truly speaks for all their members, let alone the broad electorate — if they did, none of those initiatives would have passed.

When filling out their ballots in the privacy of their homes, absent fear of harassment or retaliation, there will be large numbers of Democrats, teachers, librarians, firefighters, PTA members, police officers, AARP members, realtors, and state, county, & city workers — members of groups supposedly opposed to I-1033 — who will mark their ballots for I-1033.

And why shouldn’t they? They’re taxpayers just like everyone else. They own homes and are getting killed by our state’s crushing property tax burden. They get hurt by governments’ fiscal roller coaster where politicians overextend themselves during good times — creating unsustainable budgets — which makes the bad times even worse. We all lived through Gregoire’s first term when at its outset they repealed I-601′s growth limit, and we saw the result: a $9 billion deficit. Like everyone else, they’re frustrated by politicians’ lack of action on the very real concerns addressed by I-1033 (a complete lack of fiscal discipline, unsustainable budgets which consistently outpace taxpayers’ ability to afford them, and out-of-control property taxes).

Taxpayers will benefit from I-1033, our economy will benefit from I-1033, and, yes, government will benefit from I-1033 the same way they benefited from I-601 (prior to Gregoire’s repeal of it in 2005). I-1033 will prod them to NOT reflexively increase taxes, instead focusing on using existing revenues more effectively by prioritizing and reforming government. And if the automatic increase under I-1033 isn’t a big enough increase, they can always go to the voters and ask for more.

We’re very proud of the 315,000 citizens who signed I-1033′s petitions. We believe they spoke for the majority of Washington’s voters and support I-1033′s renewal of I-601, I-1033′s reduction in property taxes, and I-1033′s empowerment of the citizens to decide how fast the government should grow and how big a tax burden we can afford.



Kitsap County Association of Realtors Endorsed Candidates

City of Bainbridge Island
Council – Debbie Vancil

City of Bremerton
Mayor – Will Maupin
Council – Brad Gehring
Council – Adam Brockus
Council – Carol Arends
Council – Nick Wofford
Judge – Ed Wolfe

City of Port Orchard
Council – Carolyn Powers
Council – Rob Putaansuu
Council – Amy Igloi-Matsuno
Council – Jerry Childs

City of Poulsbo
Mayor – Becky Erickson
Council – Ed Stern
Council – Dale Rudolph
Council – Jim Henry

Port of Bremerton Commissioner – Lynn Horton
Silverdale Water District Commissioner – Randy Biegenwald

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4 Responses to “Realtors Against 1033”

  1. David Nelson Says:

    Just to clarify, we do run endorsements from organizations on the Sun’s Opinion page, should they chose to submit them. That’s no different than what we offer for individuals who write in support of candidates. The County Democrats chose that method in the primary this year, for example. In this case, the Realtors declined.

    David Nelson

  2. Steve Zemke MajorityRulesBlog Says:

    The Realtors were right to oppose Initiative 1033. It is a complex measure that has many negative impacts and would create significant changes in our current system of representative government and in our tax system. Here are a couple of the issues that voters should consider before voting:

    INITIATIVE 1033 WOULD FREEZE STATE AND LOCAL SPENDING AT THE CURRENT LEVEL. It says that none of the cuts made in public services as a result of the current recession can be restored without a public vote. Public votes take time, cost money and allow politics and special interest money to influence the outcome.

    INITIATIVE 1033 IS A RADICAL SHIFT AWAY FROM REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT. It would take away the current power of our elected public representatives to make budget decisions and turns the process over to budgeting by referendum. It does this not just at the state level but also for all 39 counties and all 281 cities in our state. It is a blatant attempt to undercut efficient and deliberative government by Tim Eyman whose goal is to shrink the powers of representative government.

    INITIATIVE 1033 IS A COMPLEX WEALTH TRANSFER SCHEME. It would transfer sales tax dollars collected from everyone and use them to only pay property taxes for property owners. The problem is that not everyone owns property. This scheme increases the unfairness of our tax system. Renters will pay the same taxes as before under I-1033 but will both get no tax rebate and see no increased public services for their tax dollars.

    I-1033 is special interest legislation designed to hamstring government from operating efficiently. It is a complex wealth transfer scheme that benefits rich property owners. And it is not needed. There is no fiscal crisis demanding radical change of this nature. It is a dream scheme by anti-government anti-tax fanatic Tim Eyman and deserves a resounding NO vote this November. We don’t need to make our current recession permanent

  3. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    Actually…after learning of the tax supported Acorn shame and support of illegal child abuse and prostitution, my impulse is to oppose anything ACORN supports.

    I-1033 reads “…limit growth of certain state, county and city revenue to annual inflation and population growth, not including voter approved revenue increases…”

    What is wrong with collecting revenue according to the taxpayers own rate of inflation? Often times the taxpayer doesn’t get cost of living raises…why should the government double the burden of the taxpayer?
    The voter does have the option of VOTING in revenue increases.

    Government doesn’t need to rob the taxpayer beyond their own ability to pay. Let government govern on the same principles of living within our means that voters and tax payers must practice.

    NO! 1-1033
    Sharon O’Hara

  4. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    I have it right on my ballet… YES! I-1033
    Sharon O’Hara

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