As religious leaders, we express our deep concern over Washington's economic crisis and the devastating impacts Initiative1033 would have on our state. This Initiative could inflict serious, long-lasting impacts on state and local governments and their abilities to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Our tax system should bridge the gap between the rich and poor, promote economic security, and protect our state's most vulnerable residents. This latest initiative from Tim Eyman fails on all three counts. Passage of a similar initiative in Colorado led to deep cuts in public education, roads and highways, and children's health care. It did so much damage to the state's economy that in 2005, Coloradans voted to suspend the law. We believe all caring citizens want to live in a state where life's basic necessities are met. That's why, as religious leaders of Washington State we call upon the voters of Washington to reject Initiative 1033.
The legislature already made deep cuts in public services in the past legislative session due to the national recession. I-1033 will make Washington State's recession permanent, forcing even deeper cuts and locking them in for years to come. The massive budget cuts passed this year will already devastate life line services such as childcare, public health, health care for kids and adults, housing and care for seniors. Opportunities for a quality public education essential for our children's future are being reduced. Public services are more important than ever when families lose jobs, lose healthcare and are otherwise economically stressed.
We understand the impulse to minimize taxes when our own budgets are strained, but our religions call us to act out of the abundance we've been given, not out of scarcity. Saving a few tax dollars while needs across our state go unmet is not in keeping with our religious beliefs. To live up to our moral responsibility for the common good, we must make sure that the budget cuts we saw in this recession year do not become permanent in Washington - we must raise our voices against Initiative 1033.
We are doing our best to help people in our communities get through these hard times, but as important as charity is, our religious institutions are not equipped to maintain the critical social safety net programs and the investments of state government. Maintaining services and keeping our current investments is critical to helping Washington families recover from an economic downturn.
We are called to live faithfully and obediently to a God who loves all of creation and all people. We are concerned that I-1033 will further exacerbate the disparities in our current tax system, from the disproportionate burden it places on poor people and small businesses to its inability to keep up with escalating costs and to make investments for the future.
We are called to live out our faith publicly in response to our God who we believe desires a world that is equitable and sustainable. We call upon you as we call upon the members of our faith communities to join us in raising our moral voices to defeat I-1033.
Following are signatories - Organizations included for identification purposes only.
Rev. Wm. Chris Boerger, Bishop, Northwest Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
The Rt. Rev. James E. Waggoner, Jr., Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Spokane
The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Olympia
Bishop Grant Hagiya, Pacific Northwest Conference, United Methodist Church
Rev. Mike Denton, Conference Minister, Pacific Northwest Conference, United Church of Christ
Rev. Marcia Patton, Executive Minister, Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches
Rev. Joyce Martin Emery, Transitional Synod Executive, Synod of Alaska/Northwest Presbyterian Church (USA)
Janine Larsen, District Executive, Unitarian Universalist Association, Pacific Northwest
The Rt. Rev. Robert H. Cochrane, D.D. Retired Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Olympia
Rabbi James Mirel, Senior Rabbi, Temple B'nai Torah, Bellevue
Rabbi Daniel A. Weiner, Senior Rabbi, Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Seattle
Very Rev. William F. Maxwell, Episcopal Cathedral Dean, Retired
Rev. Sharon Moe, Tacoma Dist .Supt. Pacific Northwest Conference, United Methodist Church
Mark Markuly, Dean, School of Theology and Ministry, Seattle University
Alice Woldt, Transitional Executive Director, Washington Association of Churches
Michael Ramos, Executive Director, Church Council of Greater Seattle
Rev. Paul Benz, Director, Lutheran Public Policy Office of Washington State
Rev. Chris Morton, Executive Director, Associated Ministries, Tacoma-Pierce County
Rev. Dr. James D. Lewis, President, Associated Ministries, United Methodist Retired Clergy
Justin Simmons, Chair, Board of Directors of Church Council of Greater Seattle
Rev. Monica Corsaro, Director of Social Justice Ministries, Church Council of Greater Seattle
Rev. Loren Arnett, Former Executive Minister, Washington Association of Churches
Rev. Thomas Quigley, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev Susan Burchfield, Pastor Immanuel Lutheran Church (ELCA), Seattle
Rev. Arthur Vaeni, Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Olympia
Rev. Rob McClure, Pastor (HR), Associate Synod Executive, Presbyterian Synod of AK/NW
Pastor Martha Maier, Vancouver
Rev. Thomas Stiers, Plymouth Church, United Church of Christ, Seattle
Pastor Anne Hall, University Lutheran Church, Seattle
Rev. John Gienapp, University Lutheran Church (ELCA), Seattle
Rev. Lowell Knutson, Retired ECLA Bishop, University Lutheran Church (ELCA), Seattle
Rev. Christina Jillard, Rector, St. Margaret's Episcopal Church
Rev. Dr. Mary Boyd, Pastor, University Temple United Methodist Church, Seattle
Rev. Clark Wills, Priest, Episcopal Diocese of Olympia
Rev. Charles A. Forbes, retired Episcopal priest and Carolyn F. Forbes.
Rev. West R. Davis, Retired
Rev. Robert E. Brown, Episcopal Priest, Bellingham
Rev. John P. Gorsuch, Episcopal Priest, Bellingham
Rev. Daniel G. Conklin, Shepherd for Pastoral Care, Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle
Rev. Dr. Bruce G Parker, University Temple United Methodist Church, Seattle
Rev. Lindalee Purdy, Chaplain, Providence Hospice of Seattle
Rev. Dr. Linda C. Milks, Saron Lutheran Church (ELCA), Hoquiam
Maynard Atik, Pastor, Gethsemane Lutheran Church (ELCA),, Seattle
Rev. R on Moe-Lobeda, University Lutheran Church (ELCA), Seattle
Rev. Marilynn M. Brown
Rev. Deacon Tony Irving
Rev. Bonnie Campbell
Jeannine Daggett, NW Synod ELCA Ecumenical Commission
Michael Collier, Chair, Micah Project, First United Methodist, Tacoma
Tom Yelin, University Temple United Methodist Church, Seattle
Jean Poole, University Temple United Methodist Church, Seattle
Gretchen E. Parker, University Temple United Methodist Church, Seattle
Louise Chadez, Spokane
Kathy & Geoff Sakahara, Maple Valley
(More are signing on to the letter everyday - if you would like to add your name please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org