Washington measures some of 2010's most hotly-debated
By Bailey Ludlam
OLYMPIA, Washington: Although Washington is featuring fewer measures than its neighboring state, Oregon, the ballot is heavy with hot topics. A total of nine questions are certified for the November 2 general election ballot. Three are legislatively-referred while six are Initiatives to the People.
In particular, two tax initiatives take different approaches to the state’s spending woes. Initiative 1098 calls for implementing a state income tax on incomes of $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for couples. The initiative is largely backed by Seattle lawyer William Gates Sr. and has raised more than $3.3 million. Current Gov. Chris Gregoire has also voiced her support for the proposed income tax. Opponents have raised more than $505,000. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos have both contributed to the campaign in opposition to I-1098.
Initiative 1053, another tax-related measure, proposes requiring a two-thirds majority vote of the Washington State Legislature or a vote of the people for any tax increases. The initiative was proposed by political activist Tim Eyman. A similar measure was approved in 2007 but was repealed earlier this year after the two-year threshold lapsed.
In contrast to the spending issues on the ballot, Washington voters will also face two alcohol-related questions. Initiative 1100 and 1105 propose the privatization of alcohol sales in the state. However, aside from their common goal, both measures differ in how they would privatize alcohol sales. For example, I-1105 would require a licensed distributor to sell to retail outlets and would eliminate the state liquor tax. I-1100 does not include price controls however, I-1105 prices liquor licenses based on the volume of liquor sold.
According to state documents, $38.6 million has been raised thus far in either support or opposition for all citizen initiatives scheduled to appear on the ballot.
ON THE BALLOT: November 2:
|ITP||Initiative 1053||Taxes||Requires a supermajority vote of the legislature or a statewide vote for tax increases|
|ITP||Initiative 1082||Labor||Authorizes employers to purchase private industrial insurance|
|ITP||Initiative 1098||Taxes||Establishes a tax on "adjusted gross income" above $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for filing jointly and reduces the limit on statewide property taxes by 20% and increased the business and occupation tax credit to $4,800|
|ITP||Initiative 1100||Alcohol||Closes state liquor stores and authorizes sale, distribution and importation by private parties|
|ITP||Initiative 1105||Alcohol||Closes all state liquor stores and licenses private parties to sell or distribute spirits|
|ITP||Initiative 1107||Taxes||Reduces tax rates for certain food processors, ends the sales tax on candy and ends the temporary sales tax on some bottled water and temporary excise taxes on carbonated beverages|
|LRSS||Referendum 52||Bond issues||Authorizes $500 million bond for construction and repair projects increasing energy efficiency in public schools and higher education buildings|
|SJR 8225||State budget||Requires the state to reduce the interest accounted for in calculating the constitutional debt limit|
|HJR 4220||Law enforcement||Gives judges authority to deny bail whenever they deem the public at risk|