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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Council opposes Initiative 1033

City Council members on Monday unanimously voiced opposition to Initiative 1033, the Tim Eyman measure on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The council took its position on the measure following a public hearing at City Hall. No one from the public testified during the hearing.
If passed, Initiative 1033 would limit revenue increases for state and local governments to the rate of inflation and population growth. Revenue above the limit would be used to reduce property taxes.

Council members said the initiative would unfairly penalize Bellevue, where the council's historically strong fiscal stewardship has resulted in low property tax rates. By reducing property taxes, Initiative 1033 would make the city more dependent on sales taxes revenues, which are highly volatile depending on the strength of the overall economy.

In addition, the current economic downturn has sharply reduced city revenues, council members said. The initiative would create a ceiling for future revenue growth based on the current, historically depressed revenue levels.

"There are many reasons this is a bad idea, but it is just too blunt an instrument at a very bad time," Deputy Mayor Claudia Balducci said.

According to city estimates, Bellevue's General Fund revenues -- monies used to support human services, public safety, infrastructure and general government activities -- would decrease $35.2 million over the 2009-2015 period.
The state Office of Financial Management has estimated the state, cities and counties would experience an $8.7 billion reduction in revenues by 2015. The state would lose $5.9 billion, cities would lose $2.1 billion and counties would lose $700 million.

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