Save Washington’s Small Farms

Vote NO on 933

It would take a wiser man than I to accurately predict the effects of Washington’s Initiative 993, the so-called “Property Fairness Initiative,” but I can accurately predict I will vote AGAINST it.

At best, the initiative is going to cost taxpayers millions of dollars in lawyers’ fees and payments to landowners. In fact, experts at the University of Washington predict it could cost billions, as reported in the P.I. Of course, supporters of the initiative dismissed those numbers as unrealistic.

At worst, it may have disastrous effects on the environment, as suggested in this article in the Columbian. Hopefully you’ve guessed from my writings that I’m protecting the environment is one of my major priorities.

Even if you’re not concerned with the environment at all, you should be worried about the costs of this bill. Since it’s unlikely voters are going to be willing to pay higher taxes to meet the costs of mandated programs, other programs like education or medicaid are going to have to be cut.

Hopefully, you’ll want to explore this initiative on your own. A good place to start is Wikipedia’s article on Initiative 933, the most objective article I found online. You can also read the actual wording of the the initiative here.

Although the initiative is supported by Farm Bureaus from Washington State a number of small farmers actually oppose the initiative, knowing that the most likely effect is that farmers in areas near urban areas that have been zoned as farm areas will be able to either sell their land to developers or demand government payment for not selling their land to developers.

Perhaps the best predictor of what effect the initiative might have here in Washington can be found in Oregon where a similar initiative was passed. For one perspective, you can go here: Property Wrongs: Lessons from Oregon on “property rights”.