Voters support supermajority for tax increases

November 13, 2012

The measure backed by anti-tax advocate Tim Eyman, Initiative 1185, reinforces existing state law requiring any tax increases imposed by the Legislature to receive approval from a two-thirds majority in each legislative chamber or approved by a majority of voters.

The measure requires majority legislative approval for additional or increased fees.

Washington voters approved a two-thirds legislative majority for taxes in 1993, 1998, 2007 and 2010. The measure on the Nov. 6 ballot garnered support from more than 60 percent of voters statewide.

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Editorial

October 30, 2012

Vote no Initiative 1185

Washington voters approved a two-thirds legislative majority for taxes in 1993, 1998, 2007 and most recently in 2010.

Proponents argue that the two-thirds majority measure on this year’s ballot, Initiative 1185, is again needed to keep state legislators in line. In fact, a two-thirds requirement gives the minority — in this case, a small group of state senators — the unfair advantage to shut down any proposed tax increase.

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Uncertainty clouds debate over marijuana legalization measure, Initiative 502

September 25, 2012

Marijuana sits in a jar held by Lydia George in 2011 at GreenLink Collective. File

GreenLink Collective, a medical marijuana operation along Northwest Gilman Boulevard, reshaped attitudes and policies about marijuana in Issaquah last year, as patients and officials engaged in a long debate about access to a drug banned under federal law.

In November, Washington voters could further redraw the battle lines in the marijuana debate. Initiative 502 aims to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for recreational users. The proposal goes a step beyond a 1998 measure to legalize medical marijuana in Washington and could set a national precedent.

The initiative calls for sales at state-licensed stores of up to 1 ounce of marijuana — grown by state-licensed farmers. Marijuana-related tax revenue could pump as much as $1.9 billion into state coffers, if the federal government does not intervene.

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Local voters support liquor, homecare measures; reject tolling

January 3, 2012

In November, voters endorsed better care for senior citizens, halted a measure to change highway tolling, and turned liquor distribution and sales from state government to businesses.

The results in the Issaquah area mirrored the outcome statewide, though the margins differed depending on the legislative district. The information comes from district-level data released by state elections officials Dec. 21.

By the numbers

Issaquah is divided among the 5th, 41st and 48th legislative districts. Local voters’ choices matched the statewide results in the Nov. 8 election.

5th Legislative District

  • Initiative 1125 — 23,775 yes;
  • 26,919 no
  • Initiative 1163 — 31,757 yes;
  • 18,721 no
  • Initiative 1183 — 36,120 yes;
  • 15,916 no
  • Senate Joint Resolution 8205 —
  • 38,162 yes; 10,336 no
  • Senate Joint Resolution 8206 —
  • 33,476 yes; 13,346 no

41st Legislative District

  • I-1125 — 18,280 yes; 27,725 no
  • I-1163 — 25,282 yes; 20,329 no
  • I-1183 — 31,333 yes; 15,505 no
  • SJR 8205 — 36,049 yes; 7,860 no
  • SJR 8206 — 31,729 yes;
  • 10,846 no

48th Legislative District

  • I-1125 — 13,352 yes; 21,674 no
  • I-1163 — 19,015 yes; 15,679 no
  • I-1183 — 23,583 yes; 12,032 no
  • SJR 8205 — 27,925 yes; 5,616 no
  • SJR 8206 — 24,513 yes; 8,010 no

(Issaquah sprawls across the 5th, 41st and 48th legislative districts.)

Initiative 1183 called for state-run liquor stores to close and for the state to get out of the liquor business. The measure also requires the state to license private enterprises to sell and distribute hard liquor, set license fees based on sales and regulate licensees.

Opponents said safety concerns remain about efforts to privatize the system and sell booze at more locations.

Issaquah-based Costco, the largest employer in the city, spent $19 million to promote the initiative.

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1125 — a measure to require the Legislature to approve tolls rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission — came up short on Election Day.

The electorate approved Initiative 1163 — a measure sponsored by the Service Employees International Union to address homecare workers’ certification and training. Supporters said the measure means better care for senior citizens, although funding the requirements outlined in the initiative poses a challenge for the cash-strapped state.

The electorate also approved the noncontroversial constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Senate Joint Resolution 8205 addressed a residency requirement for presidential voting outlined in the state Constitution. The measure brings state law into synch with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Senate Joint Resolution 8206 called for the state “rainy day” reserve fund to require contribution of a portion of “extraordinary” revenue in the future.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

King County election turnout beat estimates

December 6, 2011

King County officials certified the Nov. 8 election late last month, and closed the book on the contests for City Council and Issaquah School Board seats.

The tally also reflected a higher-than-expected turnout in the off-year election.

In local contests, the certified results differed little from the initial figures released on Election Day. Incumbents scored landslide victories against lesser-known challengers.

Turnout in City Council and school board races reached 52 percent. King County Elections predicted 52 percent turnout countywide in the days before the election.

In the contested council race, incumbent Joshua Schaer defeated newcomer TJ Filley by 1,871 votes — 4,448 to 2,577. In addition, 28 people cast write-in votes in the race.

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City Council decides against property tax increase for 2012

November 15, 2011

The still-struggling economy prompted the City Council to decline to increase the property tax rate for 2012.

In a Nov. 7 decision, council members decided against a possible increase and directed city staffers to prepare legislation to set the rate for next year. The council last increased the property tax rate in 2007 amid a stronger economy.

The unanimous decision is meant to hold the property tax rate at the 2008 level — $1.38 per $1,000 in assessed value. The council is poised to set the property tax rate at a Nov. 21 meeting.

The council adhered to a recommendation from Mayor Ava Frisinger not to increase the property tax rate for 2012.

“The fact that the council has not raised property tax for what — if this motion passes — for five years is a reflection of the fact that we understand that a lot of our citizens are having a lot of difficult times during the economic downturn,” Councilman Fred Butler said before the decision.

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Voters toast liquor initiative, shut down tolling measure

November 15, 2011

Statewide ballot initiatives garnered the most attention in a campaign season dominated by local races.

Costco-backed Initiative 1183, a ballot measure to loosen state liquor rules, passed Nov. 8, and liquor sales should start at the Issaquah-based warehouse giant and other retailers in June.

I-1183 calls for state-run liquor stores to close and for the state to get out of the liquor business. The measure also requires the state to license private enterprises to sell and distribute hard liquor, set license fees based on sales and regulate licensees.

Opponents said safety concerns remain about efforts to privatize the system and sell booze at more locations.

Costco, the largest employer in Issaquah, spent more than $20 million to promote the initiative.

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King County Executive Dow Constantine declares victory on tolling measure

November 8, 2011

NEW — 9:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine declared victory against Initiative 1125, Tim Eyman’s tolling initiative, as the measure led by a narrow margin statewide Tuesday night.

“I-1125 was a stealth effort to stop light rail on I-90 and delay replacement of the 520 bridge,” Constantine said in a statement. “I am grateful that so many voters saw through it and rejected it, and by an overwhelming margin in King County. Our voters, once again, said no to Tim Eyman.”

I-1125 called for the Legislature to approve tolls rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission. The initiative also aimed to prohibit different toll rates for peak commute times and to require toll revenues to be put toward projects on the road being tolled.

“King County voters are giving the green light to East Link, 520, I-405 and transportation improvements across our region,” Constantine said. “It took a broad coalition to defeat this measure, and I’m proud that King County, once again, is leading the way.”

King County voters rejected the measure, but I-1125 picked up support elsewhere in Washington.

Deadline to postmark, return ballots is hours away

November 6, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 6, 2011

The deadline is approaching to postmark or return ballots.

Tuesday is the last chance for voters to cast ballots in local races — City Council and Issaquah School Board — and statewide ballot measures — including liquor privatization and tolling initiatives. Ballots must postmarked by Tuesday or slipped into a ballot drop box by 8 p.m.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed forecast 47 percent statewide for the election. In King County, turnout is expected to crest 50 percent, although the low expectations reflect the lack of major races on the ballot.

County Elections Director Sherril Huff predicts 52 percent turnout countywide — 53 percent in Seattle and 51 percent elsewhere.

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King County Elections projects 52 percent turnout Nov. 8

November 1, 2011

Despite inescapable advertisements for the forces behind and against a liquor initiative, and important local races on ballots throughout the state, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed predicts less than 50 percent turnout for the November election.

Reed forecast 47 percent statewide for the election. In King County, turnout is expected to crest 50 percent, although the low expectations reflect the lack of major races on the ballot. County Elections Director Sherril Huff predicts 52 percent turnout countywide — 53 percent in Seattle and 51 percent elsewhere.

The liquor measure, Initiative 1183, and Tim Eyman’s tolling measure, Initiative 1125, dominate most discussions about the Nov. 8 election.

Issaquah-based Costco is the major supporter behind I-1183, a push to remove the state from the liquor business. I-1125 aims to change rules to allow state lawmakers, rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission, to set tolls.

No statewide offices appear on the ballot in November.

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