Eyman effort irks fire officials
June 12, 2008 · Updated 11:22 AM
Rather than waiting for election day, Fire District 7 officials are planning to launch a pre-emptive attack against Tim Eymans latest tax-cutting initiative.
The initiative, currently known as I-864, proposes slashing property taxes by 25 percent across the board, exempting only voter-approved levies and those monies going to schools.
Although Eyman, a well-known anti-tax crusader, only started mailing out the I-864 petitions last week, fire officials have decided to start worrying now.
We think we need to be more pro-active rather than just sit back and let it happen, said Fire Chief Mike Brown.
According to Eymans website, Permanent-Offense. org, the measure would reduce property taxes by 25 percent statewide. That kind of reduction, Brown said, would strike a serious blow to the districts finances and might even force layoffs.
Other area taxing bodies are concerned as well, he added. The initiative was a hot topic of conversation at an economics forum held last month in Bremerton.
With that big of a hit, theres no flexibility to deal with it, Brown said. We cant keep up with the growth as it is.
Along with the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council and any other agencies the district can get to sign on, Brown wants to start an active campaign to educate Kitsap County voters about the drawbacks of Eymans proposal.
He hopes that if enough people hear about the initiatives impacts on local taxing districts, they wont sign Eymans petitions.
The districts ultimate goal is to keep the measure off the ballot altogether, eliminating the need for a last-minute anti-initiative election campaign.
(The initiative) is going to sound really nice when youre walking down the mall, Brown said. But this is directed right at local government. It doesnt affect the state at all.
Its not good for anyone even citizens, he added.
Eyman disagrees. He said the initial response to his proposal has been overwhelmingly positive and that people for years have been asking him to find a way to lower property tax bills. The 25 percent figure established under the initiative is a compromise between those who are in favor of small property tax reduction and those who think property tax altogether is immoral, Eyman said.
The early signs are this may well be the most popular initiative weve ever done, he said.
In order to get the initiative on the November ballot, Eymans supporters must get 200,000 signatures by July 2.
He said he anticipates sending signature-gatherers to Kitsap County, as his campaign will need to hit every jurisdiction in the state in order to gain the backing it needs.