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Ryan, Bosch discuss I-1033 at Eggs and Issues

Initiative 1033, which places limits on revenue gathered by local, city and state governments from sales tax and allows excess revenue collected to be used to reduce property taxes, was the topic of Tuesday’s Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce-hosted Eggs and Issues forum at the Cloverleaf Bar & Grill.

Attendance was somewhat low for an event like this, but those who did make it had many questions concerning the initiative proposed by conservative political activist Tim Eyman.

Former county commissioner Matt Ryan spoke for the initiative as a way to reduce government spending and place limits on what he called the Legislature’s “... funding of their own pet projects.” And when asked about government worker’s “big fat salaries,” Ryan said the initiative would put limits there too.

“That is one of the biggest driving forces for I-1033,” Ryan said, adding there is no reason for a ferry system ticket taker to make more than a grocery store cashier.

Harrison Medical Center CEO Scott Bosch said he represented the Washington State Hospital Association in an effort to stop I-1033 from passing.

In response to the salary question, Bosch said big salaries are part of our economic system.

“High salaries are a function of supply and demand and inflation,” he said.

In the event I-1033 is approved, the state, city and county governments would each set up an account for lowering property taxes. If monies obtained are more than I-1033’s limit, they would be placed into the account for the following year’s property taxes. Although limits would be clearly defined by I-1033, the Legislature would have the ability to obtain more money, but raises in the limit would need voter approval.

Daryl Daugs, former candidate for mayor of Bremerton, showed concern in the fairness of the initiative, stating the excess would come from, what he called, “... an already disproportionate sales tax,” and then would be given to homeowners.

Others in attendance showed concern the initiative would cause a loss of jobs by setting those limits, but Ryan disagrees.

“Setting a ceiling would not specifically cause unemployment,” he said.

Bosch said he was concerned the state’s and region’s ability to be attractive to new business would be restricted and called the effort to reduce that ability “shortsighted.”

One resident asked about the role of competition in reducing costs, but Bosch said it doesn’t always work that way.

“Competition is healthy,” he said. “But I’m not sure it reduces costs. Sometimes it actually increases them.”

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