By Josh Altic
Despite creative campaign advertisements like the ones shown on the right, the Move King County Now campaign in favor of Proposition 1 failed to convince voters - who sided approximately 55% to 45% against the Prop. 1 - that giving the Metro system additional funding to avoid public transit service cuts was worth the higher taxes. Voters were, instead, sympathetic to the position of the victorious opponents, who argued that Metro needed to cut its costs and be realistic about its out-of-control spending rather than demanding more money from taxpayers. Proposition 1 would have imposed $130 million more in taxes per year on county residents in the form of a sales tax increase of 0.1 percent and an annual vehicle registration fee of $60.
Once it became apparent that voters had rejected Proposition 1, Metro officials announced that they would be proposing a 16 percent cut in bus services, which amounts to 550,000 hours. This is slightly less than the 600,000 hours in cuts proposed during Proposition 1 campaigning.
King County Executive Dow Constantine, after announcing the plan to cut service by 550,000 bus hours, said that he would continue to urge state legislators to approve more funding for the King County Metro system.
Ed Murray, mayor of Seattle, expressed disappointment at the results of the election, saying, "If we care about the environment, then transit has to win. If we care about the economy, then transit has to win. We are going to win before this is done. We have no choice."
Bus riding voters had varying reactions to this outcome:
Ellen Kildale said, "A cut in service could affect me and parking at my building in downtown Seattle costs $30 a day. It was probably rejected by people who don't ride the bus."
Cari Blount said, "I already ride the bus for 3 hours everyday, I don't want to be on it even more. It's a huge imposition."
Callista Marie Martinez, however, said, "I take the bus, but I'm not going to make people who drive go through ANOTHER tax hike. That's like building a bike lane and expecting people who drive cars to pay for it."
- See also: School bond and tax elections in Washington
Washington State is one of eleven states that has a debt limit protected by the Washington Constitution. Washington mandates that school districts can only take in one percent for general debt and up to five percent for capital outlays without voter approval. Washington State requires a election for all bond issues exceeding three-eights of one percent of taxable property. School districts are treated equally with other units of municipal government in the state's bond issue laws. Bond issues can be used for capital improvements and new construction only. School districts cannot use bonds to retire debt or fund other obligations.
- See also: Laws governing recall in Washington
The citizens of Washington are granted the authority to perform a recall election by Sections 33 and 34 of Article I of the Washington State Constitution to all elective officers of the state of Washington except judges of courts of record.
A petition for recall must include a specified number of valid signatures from registered voters determined as a percentage of total votes cast for all candidates who ran for the office in the most recent election contest. This amounts to:
- 25 percent for state officers, other than judges, senators and representatives; city officers of cities of the first class; school district boards in cities of the first class; county officers in counties of the first, second and third classes,
- 35 percent for officers of all other political subdivisions, cities, towns, townships, precincts, and school districts not otherwise mentioned; and state senators and representatives.
The Spokane County government is looking to change the way initiatives are conducted in their county. One proposed change is that a city attorney would instead write the ballot question that would appear, instead of those petitioning for the initiative. Another proposed change would be that the title of the proposed measure would have to be approved before signatures could be collected. Opponents say this would not give enough time to collect signatures, but the city said they would be allowed 12 months to collect in case the name approval took a while. Supports say that this process is based on the state's process and would rather clarify the issues and ensure ballot language is clear for all voters to understand. Opponents state that the city writing the language of the measure would introduce a bias, but city council members feel it would rather help not hinder the process.