Flood of last-minute cash against Wash. I-1033 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Flood of last-minute cash against Wash. I-1033

The city's general fund pays for basic City services, including police and firefighters The city's general fund pays for basic City services, including police and firefighters
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OLYMPIA, Wash. - There's a flood of last-minute cash pouring into the campaign against Initiative 1033.

The big checks, totaling about $1.5 million, were reported to state officials over the weekend.

Among the major donors are national unions for teachers and government workers, who gave $200,000 each. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates donated $100,000.

The "no" campaign now has about $2.5 million to spend in the final weeks before the November election.

Initiative sponsor Tim Eyman says opponents are simply trying to buy the election.

I-1033 would cap the yearly growth of state, county and city checking accounts. Revenue collected over the cap would go to property tax relief, with some exceptions. Governments could collect revenue above the cap if they ask voters for approval.

Council opposes initiative capping general fund growth

(October 6, 2009)

Monday night, the Spokane City Council voted unanimously to oppose Initiative 1033 which would cap the annual growth of state, county and city general funds.

The City's General Fund pays for basic City services, including police, fire, streets, parks and libraries.

The growth would be capped at the rate of inflation plus a population growth factor.

Revenue above the cap would be used to reduce property taxes through an adjustment in the property tax levy rate two years later. 

Property owners would see a property tax rebate in 2012 on a $200,000 home of about $40 to $75 a year (or $3 to $6 a month) based on changes to the City's 2010 Budget, according to an assessment of the measure done by the City's Finance Division.  People who do not own property would not receive a rebate. 

Based on very low inflation rates and population growth, the City of Spokane likely would have to reduce the 2010 General Fund budget by another $3 million to $6 million.

General Fund revenues come primarily from property, sales and utility taxes.

For the 2010 General Fund Budget, the City already is dealing with a $7 million shortfall as a result of the national and local economic downturn.

Already, many local agencies have taken steps to lower the $7 million shortfall.

Spokane firefighters agreed to replace their medical plan with one that's referred to as a "high-deductible" plan. The change will save more than $300,000.

The firefighters also set up a salary reduction and early retirement plan that will save an estimated $750,000 in its first year and several hundred thousand dollars in the years to come.

Initiative 1033 is a statewide measure that will be on the November 3, 2009, general election ballot. 

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