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Sumner City Council disapproves of Initiative 1033

Sumner City Council voted in favor of a resolution expressing opposition against Initiative 1033 at Monday's meeting.

The Tim Eyman-sponsored initiative would place a cap on state, county, and city revenue. Any funds collected beyond the cap would go toward reducing property taxes. The money left over at the end of the year would be applied to the state, city, or county general fund property tax levy. The first levy collected under the initiative would be for the year 2011.

City of Sumner Finance Director Diane Supler said the initiative would negatively affect the city by putting tightening an already strained budget and making it difficult to plan a long-term fiscal plan.

In her presentation to council Supler said I-1033 sets the revenue cap for 2010 using a formula which includes the change in population, the monetary inflation and the amount of general fund revenue. She said it's unfortunate the year used to provide the information in the formula is 2009, which is in the midst of a recession.

According the to the fiscal impact statement prepared by the Office of Financial Management available online at wa.gov or in the voters' pamphlets arriving in the mail, "The initiative reduces state general fund revenues that support education; social, health and environmental services; and general government activities by an estimated $5.9 billion by 2015. The initiative also reduces general fund revenues that support public safety, infrastructure and general government activities by an estimated $694 million for counties and $2.1 billion for cities by 2015."

The spending limit does not apply to city and county expenditures.

State law currently limits the amount of property tax revenue collected each year to no more than 1 percent of the property's value. The amount of money a state or local jurisdiction may receive from property taxes each year cannot increase more than 1 percent, or the rate of inflation. Property tax revenue may increase by more than this limit if approved by voters in the jurisdiction.

The initiative is on the Nov. 3 ballot.

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