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No Taxation Without Representation, Redux

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It seems the county governments in our fine state don't want to do what every taxpayer in their position is being forced to do, tighten their belts and cut spending to bring their budgets under control. No, they'd rather force the people into paying higher taxes by going to the state legislature asking their permission to bypass the voter to raise taxes.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - County officials want the Legislature to let them raise some taxes without a public vote.

The House Finance Committee held a public hearing on two bills Tuesday, one that would only apply to King County, and the other that would apply to the state's 38 other counties.

The News Tribune of Tacoma reports that the bills would let local county council members raise sales taxes by themselves and give counties the same ability to impose a 6 percent tax on water, sewer and electrical utilities that cities now have.

Currently, counties are allowed to raise the local sales tax by 0.3 percent with a public vote as long as the money is used to pay for public safety programs. Forty percent of that new money goes to cities.

In 2003, Pierce County tried to raise the sales tax to hire 100 law enforcement officers in the county and its cities, but voters overwhelmingly rejected it.

Voters in Thurston County have twice rejected similar tax proposals.

State Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama and a member of the committee, noted that these bills would let council members impose taxes that voters already have rejected.

"You're now asking us to change the rules?" Orcutt asked.

Scott Merriman, deputy director of the Association of Counties, and Jim Justin, his counterpart with the cities' association, said they just want the option of having either a public vote or a council vote.

They told the committee that local elected officials would discuss taxing options with their constituents before taking any action, but they need options to replace some of the money that cities and counties have lost because of lower tax collections in the economic downturn.

"Are you considering at all that revenues are down because consumer revenues are down and consumers cannot afford to take any more money out of their pockets?" Orcutt asked. "How can you sit here and say you want to change the rules without letting them have a vote on it?"

Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, finance committee chairman and prime sponsor of the measure for King County, said he wants to help keep the county from making drastic cuts to its human services programs.

That bill also contains a provision to help cities collect more money if they annex a portion of unincorporated King County that has a very small tax base and whose residents don't pay enough taxes to cover all the city services they get.
So, in many cases, the voters have already told county councils that there's just no more money to be had. Not content with hearing no, the councils have decided to do what governments are really good at: forcing the people to pay up regardless of their wishes. But this has all been done before:
In 1765, the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which placed a tax on newspapers, almanacs, cards, legal documents, and other paper documents. Although this was not the first tax that Parliament had put on the American colonists, it was the first tax to affect everyone, not just merchants or other special groups of people. As a result, many people in the colonies were angry. They believed that it was unfair to have Parliament make the Americans pay taxes when they had no say in the decision. Most colonial governments were headed by governors appointed by Britain, rather than people elected by Americans. Many felt that they should not be taxed unless they had a representative in Parliament.

Most members of Parliament were convinced that Britain ought to be able to collect taxes from the colonists. Thus, they did not bother with the colonists complaints. This made the American protesters even angrier. Groups like the Sons of Liberty started to organize demonstrations against unfair British policies. People like Patrick Henry in Virginia and Samuel Adams in Massachusetts spoke out against British taxes. The Americans who didn't like Britain's taxes started using this slogan: "no taxation without representation."

In 1765, delegates from nine out of the thirteen colonies met in New York City at the Stamp Act Congress. On October 19, 1765, they signed a resolution which stated that it was their right to have "no taxes imposed on them ... [except] with their own consent, given personally or by their representatives." In reply to all the colonial demonstrations, the British Parliament got rid of the Stamp Act, but passed a law called the Declaratory Act, which stated that Parliament had "full power and authority to make laws and statutes ... in all cases whatsoever," including taxation. The argument over this issue was one of the major causes of the Revolutionary War. (Source)
It's like a game of chess where the state is surrounding us with their pieces. We're at the point where we realize that unless we do something drastic, our king piece will be lost and the game will be over forever. They are forcing us to do that which all free men will eventually have to do to remain free. We will be forced to fight to defend ourselves, our property, and our way of life. We already know their next move. History tells us what it is. They will declare that they have "full power and authority to make laws and statutes ... in all cases whatsoever, including taxation." And we know our next move... Revolution.


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