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Washington bond measure language called into question

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May 11, 2010

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OLYMPIA, Washington: Yesterday the Association of Washington Business filed a lawsuit with the Thurston County Superior Court regarding a $500 million bond measure scheduled to appear on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot.[1]

The measure calls for a $500 million bond that lawmakers estimate would create 40,000 new jobs in public school and government building renovations; similar to a 2009 proposal that stalled in legislature. In contrary to a 2009 proposed bill, which lawmakers worried would harm the state's bond rating because of the large amount - $2 billion, the proposed bill is smaller in size and would not add liability to the general fund, according to legislators.[2]

The association has asked to change the ballot language. According to the filing the organization contends that the legislature omitted information. Specifically, the group points to the fact that a temporary sales tax on bottled water would be made permanent if the measure is approved by voters.[1]

A hearing is scheduled for May 28.

The current language, written by measure sponsor Rep. Hans Dunshee reads:

The legislature has passed Engrossed House Bill No. 2561 (this act), concerning job creation through energy efficiency projects in school buildings. This bill would promote job creation by authorizing bonds to construct energy efficiency savings improvements to schools, including higher education buildings.

The Association of Washington Business proposed the court use the following language:

The legislature has passed Engrossed House Bill No. 2561 concerning funding energy efficiency projects in schools and raising taxes therefore. This bill would authorize bonds to finance energy efficiency improvements in schools and higher education buildings, and make the sales tax on bottled water permanent.

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