Voter: If passed I-920 will cut funding from financial programs for college students.Let's look at all the lies from the opponents of I-920, shall we?
Citizens in Pullman and across the state are battling over Initiative 920, a measure with education at its core.
Controversy surrounds the initiative because it would repeal Washington’s estate tax, which taxes people’s assets or businesses after they die. It affects estates worth more than $2 million for individuals, and $4 million for couples.
If I-920 passes, “it will cut funding from financial aid programming for college students,” said Joel Murray, young-voter outreach coordinator for the “No on I-920” campaign, which is based out of Seattle. “It will take away the programs that benefit them directly.” Enrollment spots could also disappear if the measure passes, Murray said.
According to the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board, the State Need Grant program served about 55,200 undergraduate students in 2004-05, and on average, these students received $2,265 each in funds from the program. The initiative, if passed, would repeal $100 million a year dedicated to the Education Legacy Trust, which funds K-12 and higher education, Murray said. Supporters of the initiative are not focused on education, but on the funding source.
“They tied the death tax to the Education Legacy Trust Fund because it’s more palatable, and I think we’re better than that,” said Susan Fagan, director of public affairs for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman. “We’ve never said we’d never pay our fair share of taxes.” Fagan, who supported the measure at an initiatives forum Oct. 19 in Pullman, said the tax is not a stable form of funding and is a one-time tax that does not help communities after the money is used. The Washington State Supreme Court found educational funding to be of paramount importance, so the legislature should abide by those priorities with alternative funding methods, Fagan said. Capitalizing on a death is not the appropriate way to proceed with funding education, she said.
Murray said education support in Washington has declined, and an alternative form of funding is not that easy to find. “It’s not easy to just go out and find $100 million,” he said. “The loss of these funds from Washington’s education would be a setback unseen in the state’s history.” Without an income tax, Washington is friendly toward businesses, and the business that have gained from the state climate can give back to society through the estate tax, Murray said.
“We look at it as a way for the fortunate few who have benefited so much from society to give back,” he said. “I think it’s a perfectly fair tax.” Fagan said that while the lack of an income tax makes the state seem business-friendly, there are other aspects of business – such as the business and occupation tax – that make the state unfriendly toward businesses. With that in mind, a business’ contribution to the community while someone is alive is more valuable than focusing on the money gained from death, she said.
“I would ask people to look at how people are investing back into their communities,” Fagan said. “That has to count for something.”
“It will cut funding from financial aid programming for college students” - No, it won't. Olympia will simply have to find another source of funding.
“It’s not easy to just go out and find $100 million. The loss of these funds from Washington’s education would be a setback unseen in the state’s history.” - Please, spare us the doomsday hyperbole. $100 million is a drop in the bucket. Earlier this year, the Democrat-controlled legislature was busy figuring out how to carve up a $1.6 BILLION budget surplus.
"Without an income tax, Washington is friendly toward businesses" - Not that tired old liberal saw again.
"Business that have gained from the state climate can give back to society through the estate tax" - Let's see a show of hands. How many people think Ed Schweitzer's largesse has done more for the Pullman School District than the death tax ever will? When you look at local charities and non-profit donations, it IS those that have gained the most that give back the most.
Let's examine further what Susan Fagan meant when she said, “I would ask people to look at how people are investing back into their communities."
I-920, like I-933 is all about who do you trust more, the individual or big government. I-933 asks us if we want an unfettered bureaucracy to manage private property or the landowner. I-920 asks us if we want an unfettered bureaucracy to manage capital or the family of the deceased. And it is capital, not tax. When people die, they don't generally have millions in cash stuffed under their mattresses. That money is tied up in structures, servers, vehicles, investments, machinery, and all the other tools of business. That capital represents not only the deceased's work, but also the labor of possibly hundreds or thousands of others. Should that capital be sold off in order to fund the voracious appetite of our statist educational system and the greedy unions that depend on the dues-paying teachers that are hired by that system?
Who in Pullman thinks that Schweitzer Engineering Labs would remain in Pullman if it had to be sold to another company to pay Ed Schweitzer's death tax? Who in Pullman thinks the death tax is worth losing SEL? Remember that when you mark your ballots.