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I-933 doesnt have to cost anything at all if government acts wisely
So here come Washingtons governors, past and present, to warn us that Initiative 933 is the ticket to bankrupting the state.
I-933 requires city, county and state governments to pay for proposed regulation of private land that restricts its use or value to the owner or forget it. Owners could challenge prior decisions dating back to 1996 and government would have to reimburse them or waive the rule.
Its sponsored by the Washington State Farm Bureau and many of its county bureaus and opposed by an outfit called Citizens for Community Protection, Nature Conservancy, Gov. Christine Gregoire and the six living ex-governors, Gary Locke, Mike Lowry, Booth Gardner, John Spellman, Dan Evans and Al Rosellini.
The Guvs had a press conference and landed all over I-933 as poorly drafted, vague and capable of costing the state, i.e. taxpayers, billions of dollars if it had to pay out the sums anticipated. Apparently, they are predisposed to believe that no government would back off if its proposed regulation was not welcomed by the land owner
Well, what do you expect from governors? Look up govern in the dictionary. To govern is to exercise power or authority in controlling others, to control, to determine, to regulate, to restrain.
The last thing any governor wants is to lose any of his or her power over regulation of the peoples lives. Governors, most public officials, by the way, hate the initiative process because its the people making decisions for themselves.
Governors want the issue dealt with by the legislators, whose probable response in January would be to name a commission to study it and report back in a year.
Gov. Gregoire pledged to work out a solution with the lawmakers. Shes good at making promises. It was only last June that she promised she and legislative leaders would move to restore some sort of property tax relief in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling that I-747, which put a one percent cap on increases in state and local property tax collections was unconstitutional.
Lets see what you propose on that, Governor, before we listen to your promise to do something about I-933. Let us know now if you will restore the one percent cap we voted for or you have something else in mind.
Shes the one, by the way, who, as head of the Department of Ecology, set up the process that made water permitting such a long, drawn-out affair when the Legislature cut her budget for staff.
Like Gov. Locke before her, her chief concern isnt pleasing private property owners but organized labor and state employees. Quote Gregoire at a state Labor Council picnic in 2003: You and labor will always have a voice in every decision I make.
Locke, in 1996, told the council, I will gladly use my veto pen to strike out any legislation that is anti-labor. I expect you to tell me what sections to veto and I will.
The media also has joined in opposing I-933. There were numerous stories criticizing the money spent by the Building Industry Assn. on a challenger to a sitting Supreme court justice as if that somehow made the race dirty, but in writing about the money spent for and against I-933, it is way down in the stories that the opponents have spent three times as much as the proponents.
If government acts wisely, taking the rights of the land owner into consideration as well as any need for regulation, I-933 doesnt have to cost anything at all.
Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.