Washington Repeal Tax Law Amendments, Initiative 1107 (2010)

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The Washington Repeal Tax Law Amendments Initiative, also known as I-1107, is on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Washington as an Initiative to the People. The proposed measure would reverse certain 2010 amendments to state tax laws including a sales tax on candy and bottled water and a temporary excise tax on soda pop.[1][2]

On July 2, 2010 initiative supporters submitted an estimated 395,103 signatures, exceeding the 241,000 minimum requirement.[3] On July 28, election officials reported that I-1107 had qualified for the ballot.[4]

Text of measure

Title

The ballot title reads:[1]

Statement of Subject: Initiative Measure No. 1107 concerns reversing certain 2010 amendments to state tax laws.
Concise Description:This measure would reduce tax rates for certain food processors; end the sales tax on candy; and end the temporary sales tax on some bottled water and temporary excise taxes on carbonated beverages.
Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Summary

According to the description prepared by the Washington Secretary of State:

This measure would reverse certain 2010 amendments to state tax laws, thereby: ending the sales tax on candy and the temporary sales tax on some bottled water; and ending temporary excise taxes on the activity of selling certain carbonated beverages, not including alcoholic beverages or carbonated bottled water. It would also reinstate a reduced business and occupation tax rate for processors of certain foods.

Background

Initiative 1107 was proposed by the American Beverage Association in reaction to the April 2010 approval of temporary taxes on soda and other sugary beverages. The tax amounts to 2 cents on every 12 ounces of soda. Similar taxes were implemented in Maine and Colorado but beverage industry lobbyists quashed efforts to pass a soda tax in 2010 in Mississippi, New Mexico and New York state. The tax generates revenue in order to ease the $2.8 billion budget gap. The tax is estimated to raise $94 million.[5][6]

Effects if measure passes

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I-1107 repeals the 2010 temporary excise tax on carbonated beverages in addition to a three year temporary sales tax on bottled water that lasts from 2010 to 2013. The sales tax on candy would also be repealed in addition to a revision of a tax on certain processed foods.[7]

Conflicts with R-52

I-1107 conflicts with R-52 because the initiative abolishes the temporary sales tax on bottled water if approved. R-52 calls for a temporary expansion of the bottled water sales tax until 2013 if approved[8]. Abolishing sales tax revenue through I-1107's approval including bottled water would make it difficult for the state to pay for energy efficiency projects that are contingent on that revenue.[9]

Support

In support of the proposed measure, the American Beverage Association (ABA), is reported to have spent an estimated $1 million gathering petition signatures for the July 2 statewide deadline.[5] According to October reports, supporters of the proposed measure have reportedly raised more than $16 million, making this the most expensive initiative campaign in Washington state history.[10]

Donors

According to August 2010 reports, supporters spent an estimated $2.5 million to get signatures and put I-1107 on the 2010 ballot. In August 2010 the American Beverage Association has reportedly made at least two $3.5 million contributions The campaign is reported to have had $10.2 million in total donations.[11][12] However, as of early September 2010 the supporting campaign has reportedly raised an estimated $14.4 million, which according to news reports makes I-1107 the most expensive initiative campaign in state history.[13][14][15]

Tactics and strategies

In September 2010, according to Kathryn Stenger, spokesperson for the campaign, said that supporters were preparing to launch a statewide campaign.[13]

Opposition

Opponents, including advocates for children, education and health care, argue that I-1107 is "misleading and deceptive." The main campaign group in opposition to the proposed measure is Citizens to Protect Our Economic Future and the Protect Washington coalition. Opponents said they want to preserve the taxes on soda pop and candy in order to avoid drastic cuts to health care and education.[13]

In regard to initiative campaign efforts opposition spokesperson Sandeep Kaushik said, "I think this reinforces what we’ve been saying all along – that it’s clear the beverage association understands that in an equal debate, they would lose. So they’ve decided to try to buy the election with extraordinary record amounts of cash...They are interested in protecting their massive profits and spend extraordinary amounts to preserve them."[13]

Donors

According to September 2010 reports, Citizens to Protect Our Economic Future raised $304,229 to fight the repeal measure.[13]

Reports and analysis

Budget and Policy Center

The Washington State Budget and Policy Center released an analysis of the several Washington 2010 initiatives, including I-1107. According to the study, the impact of I-1107 to the state's general fund over a 5-year period is estimated at $352 million. The study concludes that the initiative would reduce state resources in current and future fiscal years. Such resources would include repealing revenue increases approved in 2010 which the organization describes as having "played a pivotal role in preventing painful and economically damaging cuts to essential public services."[16][17]

The report can be read here.

I-1107 petitions Photo credit: Washington Secretary of State

Media Editorial Positions

See also: Endorsements of Washington ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Pacific Northwest Inlander supports I-1107. In an editorial, the board said, "...the package of taxes our leaders pulled together as a kind of legislative Hail Mary pass — on everything from soda to bottled water to (some) candy bars — was flat-out bad policy. They knew it wasn’t a long-term solution; in fact, the Band-Aid package would expire in 2013. These are the worst of the regressive taxes Washington is known for. Big Soda doesn’t pay a penny; it gets passed along to consumers, hitting those who can least afford it hardest. And in border counties, it’s tough to compete with Idaho and Oregon."[18]

Opposition

  • The Seattle Times opposes I-1107. In an editorial, the board said, "It would create a $200 million hole in the state's next two-year budget — and already that budget appears to be at least $3 billion short."[19]
  • The Tacoma News Tribune opposes I-1107. In an editorial, the board said, "Now the American Beverage Association has come to Washington to mount the same assault that it’s successfully pushed elsewhere. It has contributed almost every penny of the $14 million the I-1107 campaign has in the bank. That campaign has tried mightily to bill the initiative as a fight against “grocery taxes” – a spin job that hangs by such a small thread of truth as to be nearly fraudulent."[20]
  • The Olympian opposes I-1107. In an editorial, the board said, "Or do we, instead, want to make a small sacrifice and spend an additional 2 cents for a 12-ounce soda pop to keep necessary services in place? The choice seems obvious."[21]
  • The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin opposes I-1107.[22]
  • The Stranger is opposed to the proposed initiative. The editorial board wrote, "The reason this tax exists at all is because the state has a budget shortfall, despite cutting billions from departments for the last two years. Lawmakers had to either pass this tax or cut health care for kids, essential funding for public schools, or other programs that help the poorest people in the state. So while it's an arguably regressive tax—sales taxes consume a larger percentage of poor people's income than rich people's—it produces roughly $130 million per year to help the poor. And it's their only hope for funding those programs."[23]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • An August 26-August 29, 2010 poll of 650 likely voters by Survey USA showed that 42% of voters were certain they would support I-1107, 34% were certain they would oppose the measure, and 24% were undecided. [24][25]
  • A September 9-12, 2010 poll of 500 likely voters by Elway Poll revealed that 47% support the proposed measure, while 38% are opposed and 15% are undecided.[26][27][28]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

  • A September 30-October 3, 2010 poll of 639 likely voters by Survey USA revealed that 52% support the proposed measure, while 29% are opposed and 19% are undecided. The poll was sponsored by KING-TV Seattle. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.[29]
Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
August 26 - 29, 2010 Survey USA 42% 34% 24% 650
Sept. 9-12, 2010 Elway Poll 47% 38% 15% 500
Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2010 SurveyUSA 52% 29% 19% 639
Oct. 7-10, 2010 The Elway Poll 54% 33% 13% 400
Oct. 4-14, 2010 The Washington Poll 56% 36% 7% 500
Oct. 24-27, 2010 SurveyUSA 56% 36% 9% 504


Path to the ballot

See also: Washington signature requirements and 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

On July 2, 2010 initiative supporters submitted an estimated 395,103 signatures, exceeding the 241,000 minimum requirement.[30][31] According to the Washington Secretary of State supporters scheduled an appointment with the state elections office for 8:30 a.m. on July 2.[32][33] In order to qualify for the November ballot, supporters are required to submit a minimum of 241,153 valid signatures by July 2, 2010.[34][35]

The signature check for I-1107 began July 26.[36] On July 28, election officials reported that it had been certified for the November ballot.[37][38]

See also

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Suggest a link

Articles

External links

Additional reading

Editorials

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Washington Secretary of State,"Initiative 1106 and 1107 brief description," retrieved June 3, 2010
  2. Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Food fight: Push to repeal taxes is a 'con,' foes say," June 17, 2010
  3. Washington's: From Our Corner,"`Direct democracy’ — A six-pack for 2010," July 2, 2010
  4. From Our Corner, "Initiative checks done, I-1107 qualifies", July 28, 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 Stateline.org,"Industry lobbying turns soda taxes from fizzy to flat," July 7, 2010
  6. The Washington Post,"Soda taxes fizzle in wake of industry lobbying," July 13, 2010
  7. Washington Secretary of State "2010 Voter Guide, Initiative 1107"
  8. Washington Secretary of State "Summary of I-1107 (2010)"
  9. Washington Secretary of State "2010 Voter Guide, Referred Bill 52"
  10. The Stranger "Even more money from the soda lobby?" October 12, 2010
  11. Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Anti-soda tax campaign tops $10 mil," August 18, 2010
  12. Associated Press,"Wash. initiative campaigns draw big campaign cash," August 17, 2010
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 The News Tribune,"Soda makers raise ante, contribute again to tax-rollback measure," September 3, 2010
  14. The Bellingham Herald,"Updated: Soda industry ante on I-1107 hits $14.4 million," September 1, 2010
  15. MyNorthwest.com,"Most funded initiative in state history," September 28, 2010
  16. Othello Outlook,"Ballot measures could have significant impacts on state - Washington State Budget and Policy Center," August 24, 2010
  17. Washington State Budget and Policy Center,"New OFM Analyses Show Potential Costs of 2010 Initiatives," August 11, 2010
  18. "The Pacific Northwest Inlander","Decision Time," October 6, 2010
  19. The Seattle Times,"Voters should reject I-1107 and keep tax increase on candy, water and pop," September 10, 2010
  20. The News Tribune,"Don't make state crisis worse with Initiative 1107," September 19, 2010
  21. The Olympian,"Don't be misled: I-1107 will be devastating to state coffers," October 7, 2010
  22. Union-Bulletin,"State can't afford loss of candy and water tax," October 7, 2010
  23. The Stranger,"VOTE, BABY, VOTE!," October 13, 2010
  24. Survey USA, "Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #17011" August 30, 2010
  25. PubliCola,"SurveyUSA Poll Could Spell Bad News for Progressive Coalition," August 31, 2010
  26. FireDogLake,"WA Ballot Measures Polling Under 50% – So Much for That Anti-Tax, Less Government Wave," September 16, 2010
  27. Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Skeptical public? All initiatives under 50 percent in poll," September 15, 2010
  28. The Spokesman Review,"Initiative support tepid in poll," September 20, 2010
  29. SurveyUSA,"10 Days Until WA Ballots Mailed, New Support for Initiative 1107, Steady Support for 1053, Faltering Support for Referendum 52," October 4, 2010
  30. The Associated Press,"Opponents of soda, candy taxes turn in signatures," July 2, 2010
  31. The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader,"Initiative 1107 aims to repeal food and beverage tax with Nov. ballot," July 13, 2010
  32. Washington Secretary of State's Blog: From Our Corner,"It’s raining initiatives...," June 24, 2010
  33. Associated Press,"Soda initiative expected on Washington ballot," June 23, 2010
  34. The News Tribune,"Could be 6 citizen initiatives on ballot in November," June 27, 2010
  35. The Daily Herald,"Up to 7 initiatives could make ballot in Washington," June 28, 2010
  36. Washington Secretary of State's: From Our Corner,"Another initiative hurdle cleared," July 26, 2010
  37. The Bellingham Herald,"Pop tax repeal is 6th initiative to qualify for ballot," July 29, 2010
  38. Auburn Reporter,"Initiative checks done; I-1107 qualifies," July 28, 2010