The State of Washington Voters' Pamphlet arrived a few days ago. It contains the Explanatory Statement on Initiative 1033, a measure that would limit growth of certain state, county and city revenue so that revenue collected above the limit this year would serve to reduce property tax levies the next year. (Instead of increasing government spending this year and then hitting up property owners with increased tax rates next year.)
The Pamphlet provides arguments in favor of the measure and against it. Doug Shadel of AARP Washington was instrumental in writing the argument AGAINST I-1033. Taking this AARP position in conjunction with the AARP support of Government Run Medicine, it is very clear that the folks running AARP have their own agenda and it is not always one that seems to benefit their membership.
In 1958, AARP evolved from the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA) so they may have a Union mentality. It has over 40 million members and has, in fact, become a big business conglomerate composed of five different legal entities, one of which is AARP Services, Inc., a wholly owned taxable subsidiary of AARP that manages the relationship with AARP-endorsed providers. Through AARP Services and their endorsed providers, AARP sells health and financial products, travel and leisure offerings, and life event services. They sell Medicare Supplement insurance, among other types, and make big, big bucks doing it.
The AARP is totally in the bag for Government Run Medicine. The fact that the government will have to make huge cuts in Medicare and will have to ration health care in order to finance Government Run Medicine has not deterred AARP from telling it's membership that it is a good thing.
What about I-1033? AARP Washington and the Washington State Senior Citizens Lobby oppose I-1033. Among other claims, they argue that funding for nursing homes, in-home care and adult day health services are being cut because of the recession and that I-1033 will hurt, not help, Washington's senior citizens. They argue that 1-1033 will make it harder for us to dig out of the recession...not sure how that works.
What AARP Washington fails to say is that Property Tax levies that increase every year, as they do, are killing senior citizens who own their homes...as well as young families struggling in these hard times. Government entities do not live by the same laws of Economics that affect us mortals. When times are hard, when citizens are losing jobs by the day, our Cities, Counties, States and innumerable special taxing districts don't cut back--they raise taxes.
For example, at a Bremerton City Commission meeting in November 2008, the Bremerton Financial Services Director said that if home values did decrease by 1%, homeowners would essentially see a 2% property tax hike in 2009. Bremerton City also pushed the 2009 utility tax for water, wastewater and stormwater from 8.5% to 9.5%. Also on the ballot for this November is a Bremerton Resolution to impose a vehicle fee of $30 on top of the car tab fees now in place. I'm pretty sure that if you do a bit of research, you'll find your city or unincorporated area is doing the same thing.
Either AARP doesn't realize that constant tax hikes hurt their members or they don't care. If you are a dues paying member of AARP, I would urge you to vote with your $$. Terminate your membership. There are a number of other organizations for seniors that haven't become infected by Big Government Syndrome. The Association of Mature American Citizens is just one of them.
Guest post by Ma LibertyBelle