Washington Citizen Initiative Funding Amendment (2012)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
The proposed measure would have required citizen initiatives to identify a source of funds to cover any new costs.
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. In 2010, voters approved Initiative 1107 which repealed taxes candy, gum, soda pop, bottled water and some processed foods.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.
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. Sen. Swecker and Regala both support Senate Bill 6022. The bill would delay the implementation of 1163 until July 2014. The 2011 initiative was approved amid a $1.4 billion shortfall in the state.
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.
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.
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."
Path to the ballot
- The News Tribune, "Voters should be willing to pay cost of initiatives they approve," December 19, 2011
- The Herald, "Require a funding source," December 18, 2011
- The Columbian, "In Our View: Refine Initiatives?," December 18, 2011
- Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate, "Senate Republicans propose constitutional amendment to prohibit unfunded mandates," December 15, 2011
- Washington State Legislature, "SJR 8218 summary," accessed December 20, 2011
- The Olympian, "Lawmakers: Time to link initiatives to taxes?," December 15, 2011
- Associated Press, "Olympia leaders eye overhaul of Wash. initiatives," December 15, 2011
- Washington Office of Financial Management, "Estimate for I-1163 (2011)," accessed December 20, 2011