INITIATIVE 1053: Requires 67% approval vote of the legislature to raise taxes and create new taxes.

Should we get rid of majority rule in the State Legislature? Should we let one-third of legislators block passage of the budget or anything related to state revenue?

When you put it like that, you see Tim Eyman’s I-1053 for what it is: an intentional recipe for gridlock in Olympia. In California, a similar super-majority requirement has been an unmitigated disaster — unless you like your state employees receiving IOUs instead of paychecks.

I-1053 is a harmful, undemocratic impediment to our elected legislators’ ability to fund the critical state services we all rely upon, especially during the current severe economic downturn.

VOTE NO on Initiative 1053!
INITIATIVE 1082: Allows private insurers to compete with our public workers’ compensation system

Should AIG and other insurance companies take over our public nonprofit workers’ compensation system? Should we let them work the same “private sector efficiency” magic that they have on our health care system?

The fact that the insurance companies and the Building Industry Association of Washington are spending millions to try to convince you this is a good idea may be all you need to know. For them, this is just a cynical opportunity to make money – in BIAW’s case, by allowing them to skim money from the system to fund their right-wing conservative politics.

The truth is that I-1082 would drive up employers’ costs by at least 25% and that would kill jobs in this state. In states with privatized systems, taxpayers have been forced to bail out insolvent insurers that left injured workers and employers hanging.

Vote NO on Initiative 1082!

INITIATIVE 1098: Reforms our imbalanced and unfair tax system and generates dedicated funding for education and health care

Should people who can afford it, pay less or more taxes than poor people?

I-1098 tackles the elephant in Washington’s living room: As a percentage of their incomes, the rich here pay less in taxes, and the poor pay more, than in any other state. It’s called a regressive tax structure, but us plain English speakers call it ass-backwards.

I-1098 will make the tax code fairer by creating a high-earners income tax on couples with joint incomes of more than $400,000 a year ($200,000 for individuals) to raise desperately needed revenue dedicated to education and health care.   At the same time, 1098 addresses our unfair tax system by:

○                  Reducing small business B&O taxes. By increasing the small business tax credit to $4800, 80% of businesses will be exempt from the B&O tax.

○                  Reducing the state portion of property taxes by 20%

VOTE YES on Initiative 1098!

INITIATIVES 1100 AND 1105: Ends our state’s liquor control system by privatizing the sale of hard liquor

Do we want liquor sold in every Wal-Mart and Rite Aid?
These rival initiatives funded by dueling retail special-interests would privatize Washington liquor stores, eliminating more than 1,000 family-wage jobs and costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars per year in revenue. That means even more cuts in core state services.  Under our current system, markup on sales of liquor goes to the state, cities and counties to fund core public services like law enforcement, education and health care. The liquor control board estimates that sales of hard liquor generate $600 million a biennium in net revenue. With 1100/1105, revenue from markup is diverted from public services to the pockets of big businesses like Wal-Mart.

Our state liquor stores have the best compliance rate in the nation for avoiding alcohol sales to minors. That’s because clerks have decent family-wage jobs that they don’t want to lose. Hand that grave responsibility to a minimum-wage clerk at a big box store, and the State Auditor estimates teenagers’ access to hard alcohol will increase by more than 400%. That’s why public safety officials have denounced I-1100 and I-1105. V

VOTE NO on both Initiatives 1100 and 1105!

INITIATIVE 1107: Ends tax increases on candy, soda, and bottled water.

Should we force the Legislature to do another all-cuts budget?

Should we revoke taxes on soda pop, bottled water, candy and gum, compelling the Legislature to make even more severe cuts in education, public safety and health care?

Callously indifferent to the billions of dollars in state job and service cuts enacted in the past two years, out-of-state industry groups funded I-1107 to protect their products from taxation. Do you think the folks at Nestle care whether there are 30 or 35 students per class in Washington’s schools, or whether we have to eliminate parole supervision for criminals? No way – their focus is on the bottom line.

VOTE NO on Initiative 1107!
REFERENDUM 52: Allows state to sell bonds to fund energy savings retrofit to schools across the state.

Should we create jobs by repairing and upgrading schools?
The “Schools & Jobs Referendum” would issue $505 million in bonds to create some 30,000 jobs doing energy repair and retrofitting work at public schools, state colleges and universities. R52 will provide funds to remove asbestos, mold, lead and other toxins from our state’s schools. More than 45 % of school space in Washington was built or last remodeled prior to 1969. These buildings are old, unsafe and potentially putting our students at risk.  This investment will create desperately needed jobs and energy cost savings for the state over the long term. It will pay for itself and frontload the jobs NOW, when we need them.

VOTE YES on Referendum 52!