BACK TO OUR ORIGINS 4
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOMLEADERS FOUNDATION12 1 THOUSANDS RALLY TO SEND BOTH WASHINGTONS A MESSAGE 6 SUPPORT TOMORROW’S
LIVING LIBERTY MAY 2009 | WWW.EFFWA.ORG
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
TEA PARTY P u s h B a ck No Ta x r a l ly wil dly succes sful
OLYMPIA, WA PERMIT #462
NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE
by Scott St. Clair
lympia—The permit application for the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s Tax Day Tea Party—Push Back No Tax rally estimated expected attendance for the event at 500. The Washington State Patrol’s initial estimate of actual attendance was ten times that, or 5,000. Organizers, speakers, and attendees alike were astonished at the turnout. The Olympia event was one of 30 state-wide and more than 800 nation-wide! Mostly spontaneous in nature, they had arisen from a growing sense of discontent many citizens and taxpayers have with spending and tax policies of government at all levels. The scene was a mass of humanity completely filling the State Capitol steps, then spilling out onto the street and lawn separating it from the Temple of Justice, and finally filling the steps of that building. Marked by a festive atmosphere, but still with unmasked discontent over the direction they see the country and the state of Washington headed, the people were united in sending to the governor and legislature a simple message: government is out of control—the people want it back.
“The Washington State Patrol’s initial estimate of actual attendance was ten times that, or Change service requested
EFF’s Amber Gunn, chief rally organizer, remarked that the number of people in attendance vastly exceeded expectations. “The crowd was diverse, yet focused on one issue: government is too big and needs to stop wasting our future.” Speaker after speaker echoed that theme. Popular KVI—AM 570 talk show host Kirby Wilbur said, “Being free is a tough job.” He urged the crowd to make their attendance the beginning of a campaign to change spending and tax policy in the state. Rally participant Stacie Roskind of Federal Way came to “tell the government to stop spending. They don’t listen to e-mails or phone calls.” So she decided to come
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to her first event of this kind. She’ll attend more if the current situation continues, she said. Small business owner Nancy Slotnick of Tacoma heard about the rally and wanted to get involved. “I don’t think higher taxes are good for any small business owner.” Thousands of tea bags were distributed among the crowd with many forwarded on to legislators. Some hung them on their hats or picket signs. The signs themselves—hundreds of them—were colorful and witty. “Don’t tax me, Bro…” “Cut government spending—Fire a politician…” “If you want ‘change’ try menopause…” The message of those assembled was directed toward elected officials without regard to party. Before the event began, the crowd taunted a group of what appeared to be legislators who had gathered for a photo op on the steps of the State Capitol. Chanting, “No more taxes. No more taxes,” they seemed to be completely uninterested in whether those in the group were Republicans or Democrats. After 90 minutes of listening to speakers, the rally ended with an opportunity for the crowd to go into the Capitol Building to contact individual legislators and drop off a tea bag as a not-so-subtle reminder of what the day had been all about. Later that day in Spokane, another EFF-sponsored rally drew well over 3,000 at the Spokane Convention Center. It featured EFF co-founder and senior policy analyst Bob Williams and U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers as speakers, and was broadcast live on several Eastern Washington radio stations belonging to the ACN Network. Several Spokane media outlets likewise characterized the event as the largest of its type in recent memory.
EFF welcomes Rachel Culbertson
as a policy analyst for our Labor Policy Center. A native of Lynden, Wash., Rachel received a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, Calif., where she majored in music. Upon graduation, she spent a year in Madrid, Spain, teaching secondary English, theater, and music to students at an international school. After returning to the United States with a renewed appreciation for her country and its founding principles, she spent the next year teaching elementary and middle school music at a private classical academy south of Seattle. Rachel’s experience living in a foreign country, coupled with her most recent work at a vocational rehabilitation consulting firm have been key elements in steering her interest toward the field of public policy. After almost
“Quote” “It is no dishonor to be in a minority in the cause of liberty and virtue.” – Samuel Adams
VOLUME 19, Issue 5 EFF’s mission is to advance individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government.
Publisher: Lynn Harsh Editors: Steven Maggi Rich Frias Layout: Joel Sorrell
Evergreen Freedom Foundation PO Box 552 Olympia, WA 98507 (360) 956-3482 Fax (360) 352-1874 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.effwa.org
two years of dealing with excessive layers of bureaucracy within the state’s workers’ compensation program, Rachel realized that she might like to be on the “other side” of labor policy issues, and is committed to educating the public and reminding them of why their individual freedom and civic responsibility are worth appreciating—and protecting. In addition to her love for education and policy research, Rachel is passionate about supporting her local arts organizations by attending concerts and exploring museums, as well as singing in her church and community choral groups. Rachel also enjoys experimenting with all things culinary. She is absolutely honored to join the EFF team and is excited to work toward promoting union and government transparency.
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Letter from lynn | by Lynn Harsh
tea baths may cure deafness BACK TO OUR ORIGINS | by Diana Cieslak SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL ENDS CLOSED-DOOR BUDGET MEETINGS | by Michael Reitz ELECTION RECORDKEEPING SO BAD IT’S ILLEGAL? | by Trent England THOUSANDS RALLY ON TAX DAY | by Amber Gunn A HISTORY OF THE INCOME TAX IN WASHINGTON STATE | by Michael Reitz
STRONG REGISTRATION PROCEDURES SHOULD PREVENT INELIGIBLE VOTERS by Michael Reitz LEGISLATORS BETRAY KIDS, PUBLIC WITH SEIU PRIORITY BILL | by Scott Dilley DIARY OF A FREEDOM LOVING MOM | by Judy Parkins
don’t make me call you millard fillmore! CLC LAUNCH FEATURES FORMER AG MEESE AND OVERFLOW CROWD
by Scott St. Clair SUPPORT TOMORROW’S LEADERS
EFF and the Fraser Institute are proud to present
The 2009 Report Card on Washington’s Elementary Schools
Featuring • Five years of WASL scores in Reading, Writing, Math, and Science • School demographic data • Trends • and an overall rating on a scale of 0-10
All in a compact, reliable, and readable format—so you can make the best decision for your kids
Beginning in May, search schools online or download the entire School Report Card at www.reportcardwa.com. For more information or to donate to The School Report Card project, contact Diana Cieslak at email@example.com.
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
LetterLET fromTER Lynn FROM LY NN by Lynn Harsh
Tea Baths May Cure Deafness
n occasional dunk won’t do it. Neither will sitting within proximity of a few thousand tea drinkers. But a good dousing of the stuff over a period of time may cure political deafness. Application of this old-fashioned remedy began last month in hundreds of locations around the country. But it was soon clear that repeated doses will be necessary because too many lawmakers keep repeating the tired mantras one expects to hear from people living in the narrow world of limited political hearing. For example, the current crop of elected leaders complain that we tea-party aficionados don’t get it, since most of us are not paying higher taxes today than we were at this time last year. In fact, they point out that many people will receive a rebate of sorts—kind of like getting cash-back rewards for the spending Congress is doing on our credit card. We should be grateful! The source of this deafness is the belief of many lawmakers that it is their job to organize society around their own personal ideals and to get re-elected to advance those ideals. They are convinced that government and their role in it is the rock all citizens must cling to, and that today is more important than tomorrow. Yet the chief concern of rally attendees—made clear by the majority of signs and comments—is not about today. Sure, there were plenty of comments about government waste and current economic woes. But most attendees commented on the future. They were and are concerned about the consequences of a government rushing forward to increase its size, reach and cost. It was disappointing to note that few political leaders and media pundits got that point. But I guess that’s what happens when one accustoms oneself to planning for the next election rather than the next generation. Still, the fault for this must be placed on our own doorsteps. On the whole, we humans are inclined toward living in happy oblivion… until we can’t. We like to be gratified as quickly as possible without giving more than a nod to longer-term consequences—which is why
directly connecting actions and consequences is so important. Honoring this behavior model is as indispensible for a healthy marketplace as it is to rearing children or making personal lifestyle choices. When lawmakers intervene, they do us no favor. We elect these people, so if we like what they are doing, we should fervently support and encourage them. Otherwise, we need to un-elect them. This will require us winning the ears, hearts and minds of the electorate. So let’s do that!
With that in mind… Out of a population of more than six million Washingtonians, hundreds of thousands already agree with our mission. But they don’t know us and we don’t know them. Yet these are the people who will form the base for much-needed reforms. Many more people would be open-minded about our issues, if they knew what they are. Add to that hundreds of thousands of college students whose beliefs are being shaped by intellectually anemic and culturally bankrupt surroundings. If this battle for the hearts, souls and minds of Americans is as important as we say it is, why wouldn’t we pull out all the stops to grab their attention and plead our case? Well, we are.
Enter Glenn Beck and Safeco Field! On September 26, EFF will “take the field” with Glenn Beck.
Beck is an intelligent, patriotic, straight-shooting American. He’s also an entertainer. Here at EFF we want a larger market share of people’s time, money and good will. Beck is the kind of guy to help us get that. From a strictly economic point of view, I don’t always agree with his analysis or remedies. But these are preferential issues. Whether he’s wrong and I’m right won’t matter much ten years from now. But on matters of ballot integrity; the size, reach and cost of government;
personal responsibility; citizens as sovereigns—Beck nails it. Several million people feel he speaks for them: the forgotten people. In fact, my 24-year-old son who grew up in this movement and is unphased by “celebrities” asked if he could be my escort at this event. He is a Californian now and thinks Beck is cool. Please mark your calendars and plan to have lunch with us on September 26 at Safeco Field. Bring a few friends if at all possible. We are crafting a one-of-a-kind experience—something to stir the senses and capture minds and imaginations. If possible, consider paying for a few seats for college students or families who otherwise can’t come. A perfectly logical question is, “Okay, Lynn, I’ll think about this, but what is the cost?” Details, details…. Well, we’ll have those details in a matter of weeks, and we will let you know. In the meantime, please think about it.
And finally… As of this writing, our investors have sent us about half the necessary amount to create, produce and air several different commercials about EFF on Beck’s daily radio show, and more money is coming in. They would run for about six weeks, three times each day. I will not give a green light to spending any of this money until I know we have enough in the bank to pay for a good run. Otherwise it’s like pouring a mere gallon of hot water into a tubful of the cold stuff.
Okay, one more thing… A good friend called me a few weeks ago to assure me that our economic woes are on the mend. She had just received a $250 stimulus check from the government. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, she professed gratitude for the government watching out for her well being. In reality she felt disgusted. Did you get one of those checks, too? It makes me want to boil water for a fresh batch of tea. Civilized people sip theirs; but, frankly, some of our elected leaders need to mainline it.
Back to our origins by Diana Cieslak
rom the providential mishap that landed the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock to Governor John Winthrop’s declaration that the colonies should be “as a city on a hill,” America was set firmly on the path to a unique legacy. But the outcome was never inevitable. The decisions of courageous, yet imperfect, men and women set the course of freedom that the United States would pursue. For the past several months, EFF’s Citizenship & Governance Center has undertaken to tell our nation’s story through a segment on Radio Free Washington called Origins of Freedom. Beginning with the foundational themes of liberty, faith, equality, and social compact, we look at the stories and struggles that began to shape our national identity, even before we were a nation. In March, an Origins of Freedom segment recounted the bloody tale of the Boston Massacre, a brutal, spontaneous engagement where three colonists were killed and three wounded—by British muskets. But the ordeal was muddled. Angry colonial mobs had made a habit of antagonizing British soldiers and sympathizers, so the fault for the violence could have been theirs. John Adams, a Boston attorney and future president, was unwilling to see mob rule fly in the face of justice. Agreeing to defend the British soldiers in court, he risked the fury of his countrymen and uncovered the truth of the “massacre.” The court records recount Adams’ address: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence; nor is the law less stable than the fact; if an assault was made to endanger their lives, the law is clear, they had a right to kill in their own defense…
To your candor and justice I submit the prisoners and their cause.” When the court finally reached a verdict, the soldiers were found not guilty. It would be several years before men like the Rev. Peter Muhlenberg would come to the conclusion that, “In the language of holy writ, there is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away; there is a time to fight, and that time has now come!” Eventually that’s exactly what they did. As Memorial Day approaches, Origins of Freedom reaches the first shots of the American Revolution. Exploring virtuous characters, battles of monumental importance, and documents that changed the world, we see the cost of freedom—the origins of freedom. The men and women who established liberty did so at great sacrifice, many at the cost of their lives. Throughout the fighting and in the formative years that followed, they set a standard of courage and character for posterity. Many Americans have lived and died by that standard. “If death shall be the cost of life, And freedom’s terms are human souls, Into the thickest of the strife, Then let me go to pay the tolls. I would enrich my native land, New plunder to her flag I’d give, If where I fall shall freedom stand, And where I die shall freedom live.” By Edward Guest, 1918 EFF is proud to tell our nation’s story. Whether it’s listening to Origins of Freedom, writing to a legislator, or sharing your own story with your children or grandchildren, may our origins arm us with courage and character as we reclaim our heritage and pass it on to the next generation.
“EFF is proud to tell
our nation’s story.”
Listen to Origins of Freedom on Radio Free Washington Saturdays at 8:30 AM or Sundays at 1:30 PM on these stations: KGDN-FM 101.3 Walla Walla/Tri-Cities
KTRW-AM 630 Spokane/No. Idaho
KTBI-AM 810 Wenatchee/Moses Lake
KSPO-FM 106.5 Spokane KYAK-AM 930 Yakima KTAC-FM 93.9 Moses Lake
You can also tune in on Saturdays at 12:30 PM to: KTRW-AM 630 Spokane/No. Idaho
Download the show from our website at:
Seattle City Council decides to end closed-door budget meetings by Michael Reitz
here’s nothing like a closed-door meeting between government officials to attract public attention. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s Constitutional Law Center recently played a role in improving government accountability. The Seattle Times reported that members of the Seattle City Council were meeting privately with the mayor’s office to discuss possible budget cuts in order to solve the city’s $43 million budget gap. According to the account, Mayor Greg Nickels wanted to “float” possible ideas before the council held a public meeting to vote on the budget. City officials initially defended their private meetings, saying that Mayor Nickels was not required to meet with them, and the meetings were only courtesy briefings. “It’s very dull stuff that no one would really care about,” said Councilmember Jean Godden. Responding quickly, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation sent a strongly-worded letter to the city council, warning that closed-door budget meetings could be a violation of the state Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA). This law requires government bodies to conduct all meetings in public. Meetings subject to the OPMA include not only the final vote on a decision, but actions such as “receipt of public testimony, deliberations, discussions, considerations, reviews, evaluations,
“Finally, on April 10 the Seattle City Council announced that it would discontinue the questionable private meetings with the mayor’s office.”
and final actions.” The law also states that public officials who violate the law can be personally liable for the violation. The Attorney General’s Office and the Seattle City Attorney also voiced their concerns. The council claimed that as long as they met in groups of four—less than a quorum—their meetings with the mayor were permitted. We pointed out that this still violates the spirit of the law and doesn’t necessarily shield the council from wrongdoing. Discussions, deal-making, and vote counting can all happen in the context of a private meeting; and these are the types of actions specifically contemplated by the open meetings law.
Finally, on April 10 the Seattle City Council announced that it would discontinue the questionable private meetings with the mayor’s office. Instead, the mayor’s staff will brief council members one-on-one, and all discussion will take place in the council’s regularly scheduled public meeting. This solution addresses our major concerns. One-onone briefings are permitted under the law, as long as the council does not use these briefings to forge a consensus on controversial budget items. The public deserves to watch discussions and deliberations in an open meeting setting.
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
Is Sam Reed’s election recordkeeping so bad it’s illegal? by Trent England
ho knows which Washingtonians voted in the 2008 General Election? Maybe nobody. The law says Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed is responsible for the state’s elections. Yet after a series of public document requests by EFF volunteer researcher Bob Edelman, the Secretary of State’s office admitted, “We do not have a list of the names of all voters who participated in the 2008 General Election.” The Secretary of State’s website reports that 3,071,587 voters cast ballots in the November 2008 election. Yet their own statewide voter registration database credits just 2,853,887 voters with participating. This is 217,700 fewer voters than ballots, according to the state’s numbers. Apparently, they had not noticed the discrepancy until EFF pointed it out. All this happens when county election data fails to synchronize with the statewide voter registration database. Each county retains its own records. When Edelman looked at data from a six-county sample, he discovered that the county voter records appear much more accurate than the state database. King County reported receiving 930,038 ballots. Its voter history file shows that 930,031 voters participated—a discrepancy of seven ballots without voters. The state database, however, shows a discrepancy of 77,314. It credits only 852,717 King County voters with participating in the election. In Pierce County, the number of ballots was 333,824. The county’s voter history file shows that 333,889 voters participated—a discrepancy of 65 voters without ballots. The state database discrepancy is 28,970, crediting just 304,919 Pierce County voters with returning their ballots or showing up at the polls. The Secretary of State’s office admits that their data is incomplete. This is a problem, practically and legally, that Secretary Reed must immediately solve. Congress passed the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) to raise the standards for election administration after the problems experienced in the presidential election of 2000. HAVA requires that: “each State, acting through the chief State election official, shall implement, in a uniform and nondiscriminatory manner, a single, uniform, official, centralized, interactive computerized statewide voter registration list defined, maintained, and administered at the State level that contains the name and registration information of every legally registered voter in the State and assigns a unique identifier to each legally registered voter in the State (42 USC 15483(a)(1)(A)).” The law goes on to require that this statewide database “serve as the single system for storing and managing the official list of registered voters throughout the State,” and that it “shall serve as the official voter registration list for the conduct of all elections for Federal office in the State.” Voting history is an essential part of this record keeping. HAVA also requires that “registrants who have not responded to a notice and who have not voted in 2 consecutive general elections for Federal office shall be removed from the official list of eligible voters” (42 USC 15483(a)(4)(A)). When the state fails to record a registered voter’s participating in an election, it creates the possibility that the voter’s registration might be canceled wrongly in the future. Another HAVA provision requires identification before a person who registered by mail votes for the first time. If they intend to obey this legal requirement, election officials must know whether a person has voted in a past election.
To assist states in complying with federal election laws, HAVA created the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC). In July 2005, the EAC issued a guidance memo, in case there was any doubt, instructing states that they “must also track an individual’s voting history” (emphasis added) in order to comply with the legal provisions on removing registrations and requiring identification.
Nevertheless, more than six years after the passage of HAVA and nearly four years after the EAC guidance, Secretary Reed is in violation of both federal law and common sense. If the state is in charge of election records, it ought to know who voted in the last presidential election. “We do not have a list…” is not the right answer.
c o m p l i m e n ta ry w or k s hop f or
m e m b e rs a n d f r i e n d s
Pl anning for Life MAY 14
Responding to requests from EFF mem-
Protect assets from taxes (especially the death tax)
bers, this workshop is presented for those
Learn about Charitable Remainder Trusts
who want to know how to make plans to
Learn about Living Trusts, wills and annuities
protect hard-earned assets now as well as
Use your life values in estate planning
when the end of life comes. Perhaps you
Choose the right tools for your particular situation
have never gotten around to doing this.
Discuss the current turbulent economy
Maybe you have a plan that needs a tune-
Learn where to get help
up. If you are unsure that your estate plan is complete and up to date, this workshop will give you new ideas and tools that
work. The presenters have been carefully
Alan W. Pratt, CEP, CAP Founder, Pratt Legacy Advisors, specializing in family wealth preservation through his Legacy Planning from the Heart seminars.
selected. Each is expert in his field. And they both love liberty! Please feel free to bring your attorney or other professional family advisor. No services are sold at this workshop. No one
William C. Larson, MBA, AIFA Twenty years of wealth management, helping clients transform complexity into opportunity and build a lasting legacy consistent with their values.
will ask you to sign up for anything. The entire day is free, including lunch. It will be a day full of great information and good conversation. We look forward to having you with us.
Please RSVP by contacting Laurie at 1-800-769-6617 by May 11, 2009. Thursday, May 14, 2009
975 Carpenter Road N.E.
9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Lacey, WA 98516
Washington Farm Bureau
Conference Room, Third Floor
S av e the d ate! A Planning
C o m i n g J u n e 25 t h ! f or L i fe w or k s hop i n V a n c o u ve r , WA.
Thousands rally on Tax Day to send both Washingtons
by Amber Gunn
That’s how many of us showed up in Olympia to remind lawmakers that they work for us, not the other way around. 3,000 rallied in Spokane. Statewide, more than 20,000 Washingtonians attended local tea parties to demand that government lives within its means, just like everybody else. It was an amazing thing to see, and those who were able to set aside time from their busy schedules will not soon forget it. EFF organized the two largest rallies in the state (Olympia and Spokane) and helped line up various speakers for each, including State Auditor Brian Sonntag, radio host Kirby Wilbur and many others. The rallies received coverage from every major news outlet in the state, though some tried to weaken the events by painting them as Republican, rather than American. Contrary to what many in the media, and even the state Republican party, would like everyone to believe, this movement was not about party politics. In fact, people from all across the political spectrum showed up—conservatives, liberals, libertarians, independents and some who wouldn’t classify themselves as anything other than American. This was a grassroots reaction against bloated, wasteful, irresponsible and unaccountable government that has been stewing for years under the out-of-control spending of both political parties.
BAILOUTS: Bear Stearns: $29.5 Billion Bank of America: $97.2 Billion GM/Chrysler: $97.4 Billion AIG: $112 Billion GE: $139 Billion Citigroup: $235 Billion Homeowner bailout: $300 Billion Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac: $400 Billion TARP: $700 Billion Stimulus Bill: $787 Billion
Total U.S. Government committed spending: $12+ Trillion PUBLIC DEBT: $11,189,382,518,232.75 $2.5 Trillion increase under President Bush through 2008 $2.6 Trillion increase under Presidents Bush & Obama in 2009 $4.9 Trillion increase under President Obama 2010 through 2016
World War I: $324 Billion Panama Canal: $14.3 Billion
Measuring sticks in inflation-adjusted dollars:
Hoover Dam: $690 Million
New Deal: $500 Billion
small business owner mark schaffer speaks to the crowd.
It should seem apparent to anyone, including those who voted for or authorized these bailouts, that the numbers just don’t add up. Something’s gotta give. Government can only pay for this spending in three ways: 1) Borrow it; 2) Print it; 3) Raise Taxes. All of these options represent significant problems for taxpayers. Right now, the federal government is mostly going with options 1 and 2. After all, why inflict pain now when the option exists to pass that responsibility on to a group of future politicians? Americans have seen the numbers. They see the faces of their children and grandchildren and ache knowing that they are being used as collateral. Ultimately, the people who are running our government are making a conscious decision to stack America’s youth and vitality on one side of the scale, in hopes that it will balance out their reckless decisions on the other. This is why hundreds of thousands of Americans across our nation hit the streets on tax day. This is why regular folks took time off their jobs and out of their busy schedules, why moms pulled their kids out of school for the day, why whole communities chartered buses, made signs, dressed up and showed up. We were there to tell those in government about our one-step plan to get out of this mess: STOP! Stop spending, stop borrowing, stop printing, stop wasting, and stop using America’s kids as collateral! Like the federal politicians, state politicians have been hard at work at the propaganda mill, hoping taxpayers will believe that their state budget deficits are, somehow, Bush’s fault. Many Continued on next page
Marshall Plan: $115 Billion
(post-World War II European Recovery Program)
World War II: $4.38 Trillion (All-time record-breaker)
Iraq War: $597 Billion
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
s p e n d i ng | w a s t i ng | e x c e s s i v e t a x a t i o n
State Auditor Brian Sonntag addresses the crowd.
Thousands Rally continued from page 6 . . . Washington legislators have jumped on this bandwagon (heck, they’re practically pulling the bandwagon), claiming the state’s $9 Billion deficit is the result of an “unprecedented revenue shortfall.” This claim is made despite the fact that the state budget has ballooned by one-third in the last four years, despite the fact that the $9 Billion deficit figure assumes a spending increase of more than 20 percent (in other words, “deficit” is whatever they want it to be) and despite the fact that the state is expected to take in as much revenue for the next budget as it will for the current budget. In other words, the state is not taking a pay cut. Legislators could be thanking taxpayers for our hard work and acknowledging that flat revenues in a tanking economy is wonderful news. Instead, we are cajoled and accused of being greedy and radical for opposing higher taxes. Friends, which is more radical—wanting to hang onto what rightfully belongs to you or wanting to take by force what belongs to someone else to use for your own purposes? Under any other circumstance, that’s called theft, but when government does it, it’s called “the democratic process.” Newsflash: The U.S. government was originally established with strict limits for specific reasons, and our founders wisely saw fit to spell those reasons out. Most of them believed that individuals own themselves, have a right to the products of their own labor, have natural rights to life, liberty, and property, and that the sole and
proper function of government is the protection of those rights. In the 220 years since the federal government was established, we have seen it morph into a bloated, unaccountable entity with a voracious appetite for our hard-earned tax dollars. State governments have morphed as well, though they have generally been large and intrusive from the beginning. Did 5,000 of us showing up on Olympia’s doorstep send them the message? For some, certainly, for others, not even close. Legislators have a knack for calculating the political costs for various choices they make, so it was not surprising that on the same day that thousands of people across the state hit the streets to protest wasteful spending and higher taxes, certain legislators decided to propose a “temporary” sales tax increase that would require a two-thirds vote to repeal and would not expire until 2013. The 0.3 percent sales tax hike would cost taxpayers more than $1 Billion over the next four years and would push the sales tax rate in some urban areas to 9.8 percent. At a public hearing, the prime sponsor of the bill, Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D—Seattle), told attendees that “People will die if voters don’t pass this legislation.” Really? Someone ought to ask Rep. Pettigrew and other sponsors of the bill whether the State Convention & Trade Center is worth the trade-off of $118 Million worth of healthcare. That’s how much legislators are proposing to spend on that facility in the next two years. What about the State Arts Commission, at $6.7 Million, or the State Historical Societies at $14.2 Million? Or what about the fact that public employees are still required to pay only 12 percent of their healthcare premiums, rather than the private sector standard of 18 to 20 percent? Do these legislators mean to say that they would prefer to let people die rather than ask state employees to pay a little bit more for health insurance?
Many people think what Rep. Pettigrew and others who support this sales tax increase are doing is blackmail. “If you don’t do X, Y number of people will die.” And yet, because government is doing it, it’s called a “legislative proposal.” Amazing! Add that to the list of reasons why people showed up on tax day. These people understand something is terribly wrong with the way government at all levels has been treating taxpayers. We showed up to put a stop to it. Tax day was just the beginning. EFF is partnering with like-minded groups and taxpayers across the nation to advance the cause of freedom. America’s first patriots took the advice of Benjamin Franklin, who used well-known legends about rattlesnakes to emphasize the need for unity in fighting to keep and preserve liberty: “ ’Tis curious and amazing to observe how distinct and independent of each other the rattles of this animal are, and yet how firmly they are united together, so as never to be separated but by breaking them to pieces. One of those rattles singly, is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing of thirteen together, is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living.” We should remember the example of these patriots and, even today, echo the motto emblazoned on their battle flag—”Join, or die!”
A history of the income tax in Washington state by Michael Reitz
aced with the state’s current budget crisis, lawmakers have again raised the possibility of an income tax. The idea has been debated in Olympia for years, but this recent discussion was more than a mild flirtation. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown and House Speaker Frank Chopp have both signaled a willingness to test the voters’ appetite for a new tax structure. Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles has a proposal for taxing anyone making over $500,000. But is an income tax constitutional? Would the law require a constitutional amendment? These are questions lawmakers are now wrestling with. Any new proposal would have to clear the exceedingly high hurdles of constitutional review and voter approval. The Washington Supreme Court has struck down numerous income tax laws, and voters have rejected eight measures in the last 75 years. The major hurdle any income tax has to clear is the question of whether the legislation would require a constitutional amendment. (Constitutional amendments require two-thirds approval in the legislature and ratification by the voters of the state.) Apparently hoping to avoid this problem, several Democratic legislators have asserted that a “modern” income tax is constitutional, and wouldn’t require any amendment. Lawmakers and others argue that the cases commonly thought to prohibit an income tax may no longer be valid, and that an income tax could now be accomplished without a constitutional amendment. This argument is misleading. The Washington Constitution (art. VII, § 1) requires that taxation of property be uniform, a clause that was added to the constitution in 1930 by Amendment 14: “All taxes shall be uniform upon the same class of property within the territorial limits of
the authority levying the tax and shall be levied and collected for public purposes only. The word ‘property’ as used herein shall mean and include everything, whether tangible or intangible, subject to ownership.” One of the first cases to interpret this constitutional section was Culliton v. Chase (1933), in which the Washington State Supreme Court analyzed whether a graduated income tax, adopted by initiative the year before, was constitutional. The court said that personal income falls within the constitutional definition of “property,” and therefore must be taxed uniformly. As a result, the Supreme Court struck down the graduated income tax as unconstitutional. Lawmakers and their experts argue that Culliton no longer applies, and can be ignored if the Supreme Court were to review an income tax today. They say that the court in Culliton relied on the case of Aberdeen Savings & Loan Assoc. v. Chase (1930) to classify “income” as property. Aberdeen, in turn, relied on two U.S. Supreme Court cases that have since been overturned. Given this shaky foundation, say income tax proponents, the Culliton ruling is in doubt, and a modern Supreme Court would not have to be constrained by these precedents. In practical terms, if income is no longer classified as “property” under the state constitution, the uniformity clause would no longer apply, and a graduated income tax could be accomplished without constitutional amendment. This analysis ignores the true basis of the Supreme Court’s decision in Culliton, and leaves out some critically relevant facts. Regardless of the validity of Aberdeen, the Supreme Court in Culliton relied more on the unique character of our state constitution when classifying income as property.
Just months after the Aberdeen decision, Amendment 14 added the uniformity clause to the Washington Constitution. When the Supreme Court considered the Culliton case three years later, the court took note of the “peculiarly forceful constitutional definition” of property in Article VII. “It would certainly defy the ingenuity of the most profound lexicographer to formulate a more comprehensive definition of ‘property.’ It is ‘everything, whether tangible or intangible, subject to ownership.’ ” With this expansive definition of property, the court held that income fell within that classification. “Income is either property under our Fourteenth Amendment, or no one owns it. ... The overwhelming judicial authority is that ‘income’ is property and a tax upon income is a tax upon property.” The Supreme Court noted the unique language of the Washington Constitution by comparing it to other state constitutions. For example, the Wisconsin Constitution explicitly authorized progressive taxation on income. The Idaho Constitution conferred upon the legislature the ability to define the word “property.” Had Washington the same constitutional provisions, said the court, it would likely find an income tax constitutional. But unless the constitution were amended, the court said the legislature’s hands are tied by the “emphatic restrictions” in the Washington Constitution. Given the Supreme Court’s reliance on the wording of the constitution’s uniformity clause, which is still intact, Culliton is still valid, and there is little reason to assume that the Supreme Court would ignore it and its subsequent line of cases. As a result, most income tax proposals would require a constitutional amendment.
by voters and Supreme Court
Voters adopt a graduated income tax.
Supreme Court strikes down the income tax as unconstitutional.
Voters reject constitutional amendment allowing for income tax.
Legislature adopts a 3% net income tax.
Supreme Court strikes down Personal Net Income Tax Act.
Supreme Court strikes down corporate net income tax.
Voters reject constitutional amendment SJR 7 allowing for income tax.
Voters reject constitutional amendment SJR 5 allowing for income tax.
Voters reject another income tax measure.
Legislature adopts a 4% corporate excise tax.
Supreme Court rejects the corporate excise tax.
Voters reject constitutional amendment HJR 42 allowing for income tax.
Voters reject HJR 37, providing for corporate and personal income tax.
Voters reject Initiative 314, a 12% corporate income tax proposal.
Voters reject Initiative 435, a corporate income tax proposal.
“. . . most income tax proposals would require a constitutional amendment.”
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Strong registration procedures should prevent ineligible voters by Michael Reitz
n March, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the case of Gonzalez v. State of Arizona in defense of Arizona’s requirement to show proof of citizenship before registering to vote. EFF has long advocated for stronger registration measures to ensure that only eligible voters are added to the voter rolls. In 2004, the voters of Arizona approved Proposition 200, which requires new registrants to show documentation of their citizenship status, and requires voters to show identification when voting. A coalition of minority advocacy groups and individuals challenged the law as unconstitutional, arguing that the citizenship requirement exceeds federal requirements, violates Equal Protection, discriminates against minorities, and constitutes a poll tax. EFF’s amicus brief points out that states have a right to adopt reasonable laws to advance their vitally important interest in promoting the integrity of the electoral pro-
cess. Courts have recognized that voter fraud is on par with disenfranchisement—every invalid vote effectively cancels out a valid vote. As long as voter regulations impose only a modest burden on the right to vote, courts generally uphold nondiscriminatory regulations. For example, in 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Indiana law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polling place. (EFF also filed an amicus brief in support of Indiana in this case.) The Gonzalez case has had a long history, already going to the U.S. Supreme Court on a procedural issue. It now comes before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on the merits of the case. In the most recent ruling, the lower District Court ruled in favor of the State, saying the plaintiffs had not shown
Legislators betray kids, public with SEIU priority bill by Scott Dilley
ith the apparent defeat of the Worker Privacy Act, organized labor’s top legislative priority, legislators in Olympia are now considering other ways to offer some payback to unions for their past support. Of the remaining bills, the one with the largest impact may be HB 1329, which would extend collective bargaining rights to daycare centers. The bill takes advantage of state money allocated to helping low-income parents pay for child care. These subsidy payments are sent from state programs such as Working Connections Child Care directly to daycare centers with eligible children. Unions—most notably the Service Employees International Union—use these payments as a pretext for unionization. HB 1329 has gone through several changes since the concept was introduced last session. The latest version, passed by the Senate, downgraded the controversial legislation to a study bill requiring an agency study and task force findings. Lawmakers would then have more information at their disposal before making any changes to collective bargaining rights in the future. The House, however, is not willing to accept the Senate amendments and wants to work on formulating some compromise language. The basic approach in all previous versions of the bill goes something like this: Instead of sending the entire subsidy to a daycare provider, the state would first send a portion of that money to a union. The union is guaranteed its cut, while daycares would receive less money now and the possibility of having their union negotiate for funding increases in the future. Earlier versions of the bill set the triggering mechanism for unionization at either one child, or four children with subsidies. One version exempted large daycare centers and government-affiliated centers. A later version dropped that exemption and, instead, allowed any qualifying daycare the choice of opting into the union. The removal of parity language—ensuring that the deal between the union and state over subsidy rates applies to all providers—would mean that only centers represented by the union would be subject to the unionnegotiated contract.
Various state agencies estimated the fiscal impact of the original version of the bill to be around $1.5 million per biennium, some of which would be spent to defend the bill in court. Critics have charged that the bill may conflict with the National Labor Relations Act and other state labor laws; and EFF has commented on possible shortcomings in the bill’s religious objector language. Union supporters stand to benefit from passage of the bill in its pre-study bill format. The SEIU Local 925, the Washington Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers seem to be salivating over the prospect of adding as many as 900 daycare providers and 19,000 workers to their ranks. EFF has not been the only entity to raise questions about the bill this session. The editorial boards of the Tacoma News Tribune, the Everett Herald, the Yakima Herald-Republic, and (earlier this year) the Seattle PostIntelligencer have spoken against the earlier versions of the bill. The TNT concluded HB 1329 “amounts to a political payoff to an especially aggressive union. The actual welfare of the children involved is a secondary consideration. … The SEIU—one of the feistiest outfits in organized labor—can take care of itself. It’s not the state’s job to serve as the union’s organization enforcer or as its dues collector.” What made the earlier versions of HB 1329 so clearly payback for unions is the fact that legislators have other options besides extending collective bargaining rights. An alternative measure, SB 5506, would provide steps for the state to increase the amount of child-care subsidies without involving a union. Certainly the extension of state-supported social service programs can be legitimately debated, but it is safe to say that if the state is going to provide child-care subsidies, the program should be as efficient and effective as possible. Transferring money to union middlemen is not an efficient use of taxpayer funds. If legislators elect to pass a version of HB 1329
how the law unconstitutionally burdened the citizens of Arizona. Secure voter registration procedures are essential for a clean election. Instances of voter fraud and human error can be greatly reduced with strong safeguards during the registration process. The experience in Washington’s 2004 gubernatorial election shows the catastrophic effect of poor registration procedures: liti-
gation, uncertain results, and damage to the electorate’s confidence all occur when illegal votes are discovered in a close race.
that expands bargaining rights, the only reason to do so is to reward unions. In 2008, the SEIU spent more than $1.9 million, the WEA spent more than $1.2 million, and the AFT more than $20,000 on campaign contributions, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. A group of concerned daycare owners opposed to the bill has filed a lawsuit against the state. The suit alleges the state violated the owners’ privacy rights when the Department of Early Learning and/or the Washington Association for the Education of Young Children (which operated under a contract with DEL) released the names and personal contact information for 19,226 private child-care workers last year. The recipient of the names and addresses of those 19,000 workers was SEIU Local 925. The release of personal contact information has been a hot topic in discussions on HB 1329. The release of work contact information is typical for public employees, but raises privacy concerns with the creation of hybrid public/private unions. This situation also shows the extent to which the SEIU will go to acquire information of potential union members. The union’s impatience may betray the trust of the very individuals they seek to represent. Let’s hope legislators carefully consider the ramifications of extending collective bargaining rights before they take any further action on HB 1329. Allowing more public money to flow into labor union coffers at the expense of taxpayers and low-income children could represent a betrayal of the public trust.
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
of a Freedom Loving Mom… by J u dy P a r k ins
Don’t make me call you millard fillmore!
was recently introduced to Millard Fillmore—the 13th president of the United States. As the Vice President he assumed the presidency upon the death of President Zachary Taylor in 1850. After serving out Taylor’s term, he failed to gain the Whig Party presidential nomination in the 1852 presidential election. Four years later, in the 1856 presidential election, he again failed to win election as the, get this, Know Nothing Party candidate. What!? The Know Nothing Party? Seriously? Has everyone heard about this but me!? According to my brief Wikki history lesson, the origin of the “Know Nothing” name was in the semi-secret organization of the party. When a member was asked about its activities, he or she was supposed to reply, “I know nothing.” (Reading further made it clear why members would not want their actions known! See www.wikipedia.org.) “I know nothing.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard that as my children were growing up, I would be in the top 2% of income earners in Washington state and looking forward to having all my nickels taken from me. What parent honestly believes their children are clueless? Of course, our children know….
ating. They have no clue that the They know how the VCR/DVD player got life they assume they will be living broken. in 20 years will not be available to They know exactly how the red stain them. appeared on the carpet. Parents, it must be our highest They know who ate the dessert before priority to be able to articulate our dinner. position and engage in meaningThey know exactly how the car was ful conversations on the government dented. bailouts, the legitimate role of governThey know all about sex before we even ment, and the message of true comthink to bring up the subject. passion to our “committed to change” They know which parent will most likely say voters. We will no doubt be labeled uncaring, greedy “yes.” and, of course, unpatriotic. Hey, we’re parents. We’ve They know how to schmooze their teachers. They know they are one text message away from getting pot, drugs, alcohol or “But they don’t know what it means that the anything they want. National Debt is now over $11 trillion.” They know their rights under the child been called worse. At least we won’t have to look up protective laws. those words in the online urban dictionary to see how They know a few facts to score well on SATS. But they don’t know what it means that the National offended we should to be! When it comes to economics, deficit spending, free Debt is now over $11 trillion. They don’t understand that the government is trying to take more and more money markets and global prosperity….this time, like Millard from its citizens, and the dependency culture that is cre- Fillmore, they honestly don’t know.
Constitutional Law Center launch features former AG Meese and overflow crowd by Scott St.. Clair
have a Constitutional right…” is a phrase people use a lot. Whether to justify saying or writing something, telling someone to get off your property, or owning a firearm, the idea of Constitutional rights is deeply ingrained in the American popular psyche. But what exactly are Constitutional rights? And how are they safeguarded and protected? On March 26th, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation took a giant step toward answering these questions when it officially launched its Constitutional Law Center at a luncheon at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Bellevue. Print deadlines precluded the appearance of an in-depth article about the event in April’s Living Liberty. Featuring former Reagan Administration United States Attorney General Edwin Meese, III as the featured speaker, over 168 guests were treated to a sumptuous meal and an inspirational call to arms to defend fundamental legal rights that are enshrined in both the United States and Washington state Constitutions. EFF general counsel Mike Reitz, who, together with Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Bechtle, will head up the CLC, remarked on its need and purpose: “Government exists to protect and maintain individual rights, but overzealous bureaucrats are often a citizen’s greatest adversary. We want to defend individual free speech and property rights, allow parents to make the best educational choices for their children, and ensure that entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pursue the American dream.” The Constitutional Law Center will offer free representation to Washington citizens in carefully-selected cases that have potential for broad impact on constitutional issues that fall within EFF’s traditional areas of
expertise and mission. CLC attorneys will also assist EFF in its function as a government watchdog. Attorney General Meese was spirited and jovial. Speaking on how to effectively use the court system to promote and defend liberty, he gave the audience a brief primer on how liberty was the key element in the founding of the United States.
He then delineated various Constitutionally protected freedoms such as speech, press, and association, and what they meant in a larger societal context: the rights of people to get together and their right to persuade others to their point of view.
Balancing the conflicting experiences of the Revolutionary War versus a weak central government under the Articles of Confederation, AG Meese discussed the central role of the rule of law and limited government. Understanding the clear need of a strong government, but fearful of an unchecked one, the Constitutional Framers in the first written constitution in human history divided power vertically and horizontally – between the national and state governments and by separating powers within the national government itself. Of particular importance, he told the crowd, was the role of judges. Elected politicians and their policies can have finite lives, he said, but, at the federal level, judicial appointments were for life—they live on after the politician who appointed them is long gone. AG Meese congratulated EFF for having the vision and the courage to wade into Constitutional-rights-oriented litigation. EFF co-founder and senior policy analyst Bob Williams then spoke on the Washington State Constitution and the primacy of the people. He urged the crowd to take part in the struggle. “We need to get involved to take back our country,” he stressed. Prior to the formal event, Mr. Meese graciously chatted with many EFF members and friends and posed with them for souvenir photographs. The opportunity to have a picture taken with one of America’s premier conservative legal scholars and thinkers brought in a great many people all by itself.
Support Tomorrow’s Leaders Young Leaders Internship Program P r e s e nt e d by th e Ev e r g r e e n F r e e d o m F o u nd a ti o n
Communications Department “I would like to work with The Evergreen Freedom Foundation because I believe in its principles. To me, a free market is important to maintaining the ideals of our Founding Fathers.”
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
rom a record number of applications, EFF has selected six future leaders to intern with us this summer. They come from all over
America: three from Washington, one from Oregon, one from Arizona, and one from North Carolina. These students represent the best of America’s rising generation. After a summer with EFF, they will be even more prepared to stand up for freedom and free markets. Will you support these young leaders? Will you make a special contribution to support these exciting, patriotic students as they work and study here this summer? Our past interns have gone on to serve in our military, write successful books, or even become EFF policy center directors. Partner with us to make this summer a life-changing, liberty-advancing experi-
Labor Policy Center / Economic Policy Center
ence for these young leaders. Make a tax-deductible investment in a young leader with the enclosed reply envelope or online at www.effwa.org.
“I admire EFF’s conservative, comprehensive, and innovative approach to public policy reform and education.”
Property Rights Center / Citizenship & Governance Center “I strongly believe that the principles our great nation was founded on are the strongest ideals of true freedom and liberty found anywhere throughout all of history.”
Communications Department “…the American people fought their war to
retain their natural rights…”
Washington State University
Citizen Action Network “I believe that students such as myself need to be trained to speak for the truths that are increasingly being blurred and forgotten, before it becomes even harder to check back the increasing disinterest in liberty.”
Assisting Lynn Harsh / Education Reform Center
“Having strong advocates of markets and free enterprise in public policy may have never been so crucial. For that reason, I would very much like the chance to work with the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.”
Make a tax-deductible investment in a young leader with the enclosed reply envelope or online at www.effwa.org.
Published on May 1, 2009
MAY 2009 | WWW.EFFWA.ORG A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION “The Washington State patrol’s initial estimate of actual attenda...