Washington Citizen Initiative Funding Amendment (2012)

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The Washington Citizen Initiative Funding Amendment did not appear on the November 2012 statewide ballot in Washington.

The proposed measure would have required citizen initiatives to identify a source of funds to cover any new costs.

Sponsors of the bill include Sens. Dan Swecker, Debbie Regala, Mike Hewitt, Nick Harper, Mark Schoesler, Don Benton, Andy Hill and Randi Becker.[1]

Background

The measure was developed after various citizen initiatives were approved and added state costs that the state hasn't always been able to fund, according to reports. Measures include two education initiatives - Initiative 728 and Initiative 732 - approved in 2000.[2] In 2010, voters approved Initiative 1107 which repealed taxes candy, gum, soda pop, bottled water and some processed foods. According to news reports, that left an estimated $218 million hole in the state's budget.[3]

Most recently, in 2011 voters approved Initiative 1163 by 65%. The measure re-enacted background checks, training, and certain other requirements for long-term care workers and providers. According to state officials, 1163 requires about $18 million in new state spending.[4] Sen. Swecker and Regala both support Senate Bill 6022. The bill would delay the implementation of 1163 until July 2014.[2] The 2011 initiative was approved amid a $1.4 billion shortfall in the state.[3]

Fiscal statements are written for proposed initiatives by the Office of Financial Management. However, Swecker argues that voters may better understand the impact of proposed measures if the fund source were on the ballot with the proposed measure.[2]

Support

Gov. Christine Gregoire said that she is likely to support the proposed amendment. "The Legislature can't tell us to do something without funding. When the people act on an initiative, they are the Legislature. They accept the same responsibility that the Legislature does," she said.[3]

Opposition

Tim Eyman, a political activist in Washington who has sponsored or worked on at least several dozen initiative campaigns in the state of Washington, said, "The problem down in Olympia is not the initiative process. The problem is that they don't prioritize spending."[3]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing ballot measures in Washington

In order to place the measure on the statewide ballot, the measure requires at least a simple majority vote in both the House and the Senate.

See also

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