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Tax reform crusader retires

Property Owners for Predictable Tax Now, a tax-reform organization formed in November 2005, is shutting down, co-founder Shelley Taylor of Sequim said last week.

The country's economic problems have created much bigger problems for property owners than just the increasing property taxes she fought against for more than 31/2 years, she said.

"There's much bigger problems, not that (property tax reform isn't) important," Taylor said.

"It's even more important now since it looks like more taxes are going to be passed and there's inflation coming too, but that's such a narrow scope," she said.

Taylor said she is refocusing her efforts toward "The 9-12 Project," which aspires to unite the country again the way it was the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

"After my speech at the Olympia Tea Party on July 4, people were very excited. They kept saying 'You've gotta run against Patty Murray,'" Taylor said.

However, "there ain't enough money to get me into politics.

"I talked to my husband, Greg, and (close friend and movement co-founder Jill Willauer), and everyone

absolutely agrees with me."

Taylor - formerly Lorena, the blonde spa owner on

"General Hospital" from 1984-1986 - moved to

Sequim in early 2004.

In November 2005, she and fellow Sequim resident Willauer formed Property Owners for Predictable Tax Now to campaign for limits on property tax increases.

They convinced 24th District legislators Rep. Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam, and Rep. Jim Buck, R-Joyce, to introduce House Joint Resolution 4214 in the 2006 Legislature.

HJR 4214 would have amended the state constitution to limit property tax increases to 1 percent per year unless the property was sold, when it would reset to its fair-market value.

The bill received a public hearing on Jan. 24, 2006, but died in the House Finance Committee.

Kessler said everyone gave property tax reform their best shot.

"Shelley gave it a valiant effort. I gave it a valiant effort. Kevin gave it a valiant effort. We just couldn't get anything passed," she said.

"Shelley wanted certainty in your property taxes, and I don't disagree with her on that. I introduced legislation to do it but just couldn't get through."

Taylor said the group's Web site will stay up for a while. She also will contact supporters and ask if they want to be on her e-mail list.

"I'm trying to pull back as much as I can. I'll keep the Web site up but not create another one. I'll also be available for larger speeches," she said.

"We'll see about Tim Eyman's initiative. I'll vote for it, but it's not a panacea. We'll see what happens.

Eyman's Initiative 1033, which will appear on the November ballot, would limit the growth of city, county and state general fund revenues to inflation and population growth.

Any money collected beyond that amount would be used to reduce the next year's property taxes. Voter-approved taxes would not be subject to the cap.

"I gave it my best shot, but the Legislature just didn't want to give the voters an opportunity to vote," Taylor said.

"That's why we have an initiative process, but property taxes require a constitutional amendment."

Now that she's stepping back from politics, Taylor has a message for her followers and others

"People should pay attention. Wake up America! That's what people should do.

"The biggest thing everyone can do is to contact their representatives repeatedly, and e-mails aren't the way. Use fax-

es and letters and phone calls.

"Make the message short and sweet because a staffer is going to read it. Be vocal, pay attention and give them an opportunity to hear you."

Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.

Editor's note: Shelley Taylor also writes the monthly "Dish on Dish" restaurant review column for the Sequim Gazette.





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