Some Washington State Ballot Initiatives


Take Back the Country! - Elections 2010

Yay! I can practically smell November 2nd from here. Why? Because today, I received my official Washington State ballot in the mail. (Yes, we vote by mail. Because GREEN! And also, s

pending.)

If you don’t live in Washington, this post may not be of interest to you. I’m not going to talk about candidates. Suffice it to say, I’m voting conservative. Plus, Washington has this weird primary where we don’t vote a party ticket. We vote for our favorite candidate, regardless of affiliation, and then the two for each position who get the most votes go on to the general election … regardless of party affiliation. People seem mixed on this issue. I kind of like it, but I haven’t really researched the arguments for or against, so it’s a somewhat uneducated like.

 

Basically, I’m going to mention some of the Washington State ballot initiatives and how I feel about them. Also, because I wasn’t provided a voter’s pamphlet, I’m providing a link to that information online, so you can make a more informed choice, too.

Initiative Measure 1053 – There was quite the kerfuffle a while back when legislation was passed restriction new tax hikes and  then the governor overturned it with help from the state legislature. This initiative tightens the reins a bit and restores some balance of power to voter enacted control over the state purse. In other words, Initiative 1053 restores the law to what it once was. I’m not an economics expert by any means, so I have little of substance to say on this particular issue, but I like it. I don’t want the will of the people to be thwarted this way. I’m going to vote yes on 1053.

Initiative Measure 1098 – This initiative establishes, for the first time I know if, a state income tax for Washington. Oh, I don’t think so. Only the top earners in WA will be affected. Those will adjusted gross incomes of over $200,00 for individuals, and over $400,000 for joint filers. Most alarmingly, 70% of this money must be used for education, and 30% for health care. So, no extra money for infrastructure, if I’m reading the information correctly.

This initiative also furthers the assumption that the “rich” should be punished for their success, and be forced to support the rest of us who aren’t as successful.

From the information provided, if you make $500,000 or more, you will be automatically taxed $15,000 plus 9% of every dollar you make above $1 Million. This doesn’t affect me directly. I will probably never make anything like that type of money. But it does affect me indirectly. Washington State is full of tech industry millionaires. They own businesses. They contribute to the community. I do not want them to flee the area due to an unfair tax hike. We need them.

Also, the WA State Constitution allows any initiative to be amended after two years by a simple majority. That means, if we open the door for a state income tax now, in two years the legislature could impose it on all of us, regardless of income.

Please vote no on 1098.

Initiative Measure 1100 – In Washington, the sale of hard liquor is controlled and regulated by the state. You can’t by a bottle of gin at Safeway, for example.  Profits from the taxes imposed by the Liquor Control Board are distributed across the state. Additionally, it is estimated that state run stores are far less likely to sell alcohol to minors than private businesses.

So, there are some good things about the current situation. Repealing it will mean a loss of tax revenue for municipalities.

However…

It just galls me that, if I choose to make a batch of martinis in my home, I have to get my provisions from the government. I’m an adult. I have every legal right to purchase alcohol if I want to. I don’t like the government having strict control over private areas of my life in which it has no business interfering.

Plus, I’m all for a decrease in government jobs, and an increase in private sector jobs. We need people working, not welfare recipients scraping together the money from between the sofa cushions to buy a cheap, overly taxed bottle of vodka.

If selling alcohol to minors is a problem, let’s recoup some of the lost tax dollars by levying harsh fines against violators of that law. Certainly, we don’t want an increase in drunk teenagers, and definitely not in drunk driving. But let’s consolidate that power where it should be. Let’s strengthen the penalties for endangering others and violating public safety. Let’s set stronger drunk driving laws, including for minors.

We need a core set of strong, smart laws. Not a plethora of weak laws removing power from the people and giving it to the government. I don’t believe in monopolies, and a government monopoly least of all.

End the government control of alcohol. Promote private business. Vote yes on Initiative Measure 1100!

Initiative Measure 1105 – This seems to be almost identical to Initiative Measure 1100. I’m really unclear what the differences are. Is this a clever attempt to muddy the waters? What if one passes and the other doesn’t? Would someone smarter than I please read through the information provided at the link above and explain to me what, if anything, is different?

Initiative Measure 1107 – As you may have heard, Washington State is all about “sin taxes.” A while back, taxes were added to candy, where the definition of candy is narrowly, and oddly, defined.

Candy is defined as a preparation of sugar, honey, or other sweeteners in combination with chocolate, fruits, nuts, or other ingredients or flavorings in the form of bars, drops, or pieces. Candy does not include products that contain flour or require refrigeration.

So, hypothetically, trail mix could be taxed, whereas a candy bar with the smallest amount of flour couldn’t. Also, from my reading, a Mars Bar is taxable, but a frozen Mars Bar ice cream treat is fine. Additionally, some local business owners complain the tax favors out of state manufacturers, giving non-local businesses an advantage overly locally produced items.

Also, bottled water: taxable. Water? Seriously? And there’s something about a B&O tax on meat, too.

It’s all very strange.

Voting yes on Initiative Measure 1107 repeals all of this. In the case of bottled water, an additional referendum must be passed (one that is tied with upgrading educational facilities to be more “energy efficient.”) Not only is the idea of a sin tax stupid – whose business is it of mine if I want to enjoy the occasional Kit Kat bar or Coke product? – but it’s bad business to place an additional tax on local manufacturers. When the cost of operation exceeds the cost of moving to a different state, where will the jobs go? Certainly, people who work in manufacturing plants won’t be able to afford to move with companies.

Passing 1107 to repeal this arbitrary sin tax isn’t only ethical, it’s practical. Think of the business costs of going through every single bit of inventory to decide which can be taxed and which can’t.

In a time where most voters seem to believe – correctly, in my opinion – that job creation is the most important problem we face as a country, penalizing private companies from doing what they do best is just plain stupid. Sure, less tax revenue means a leaner budget, but last time I checked, people who make candy bars for a living also buy taxable items.

Jobs. Jobs. Jobs!

These are not the only initiatives and referendums on the ballot! I’ve only touched – briefly – on the ones with which I’m most concerned. I encourage everyone to click the link provided above and read all the information before casting a ballot. Sure, they are in the mail as we speak, but they are not due until November 2. Take the extra time to ask questions now, rather than face increased government spending and control later.

Vote your conscious, please. I don’t “demand” anyone agree with me. And I’ll certainly be doing more research into some of these issues before I cast my final vote. The key here is to be informed.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Some Washington State Ballot Initiatives”
  1. DCG says:

    So KitKat isn’t a candy cuz they contain flour yet M-n-m’s are “candy”? This is nothing more than collecting more of our money. If those who want higher taxes for the “rich”, cough up your money now to WA ST. Put your money where your mouth is…

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