Washington Revenues for Elderly and Disabled, Initiative 158 (1944)
in Washington State
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I-158 was on the same ballot as the Liberalization of Old Age Assistance Laws, Initiative 157, which also was defeated.
In the 1930s, "5,000,000 old people...joined nationwide Townsend clubs, promoted by Francis E. Townsend to support his program demanding a $200 monthly pension for everyone over the age of 60."
Dr. H. Truman Gordon, a "nationally known lecturer and economist and Townsend national representative" did a speaking tour of the State of Washington in September 1944 to advocate for a "yes" vote on Initiative 158.
Path to the ballot
Initiative 158 was filed on March 28, 1944.
Text on the Ballot
An act relating to revenue and taxation; providing for the levy and collection of a three per cent tax on gross income; providing for certain exemptions and deductions; providing for the disposition of revenue derived hereunder; prescribing monthly payments of not less than sixty dollars to certain aged, blind, disabled or widowed persons from an Employment and Retirement Mutual Insurance Fund, herein created; prescribing duties of officers and procedure in relation hereto; regulating disposition of payments by beneficiaries; defining terms and prescribing penalties.
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