I spent some time — several hours, actually — today filling out my ballot and I thought I’d share how I voted on some of the races with quick sentence or three on why you should vote that way too.
I-1053 ((This measure would restate existing statutory requirements that legislative actions raising taxes must be approved by two-thirds legislative majorities or receive voter approval, and that new or increased fees require majority legislative approval.)): Yes
“Since 1993, Washington’s had the two-thirds requirement. In those 17 years, during legislative sessions when it’s been in effect, tax hikes were a last resort resulting in more reform and fewer taxes.” Making it hard to raise taxes is good.
I-1082 ((Authorize employers to purchase private industrial insurance beginning July 1, 2012; direct the legislature to enact conforming legislation by March 1, 2012; and eliminate the worker-paid share of medical-benefit premiums.)): Yes
I believe there are enough safe guards in place to protect the public good and make this a good choice for opening up this market to competition.
I-1098 ((Tax “adjusted gross income” above $200,000 (individuals) and $400,000 (joint-filers), reduce state property tax levies, reduce certain business and occupation taxes, and direct any increased revenues to education and health.)): No
The is one of the hot ones. Here’s what it boils down to: In general, I don’t believe in legislating morals. I also don’t believe in taxing just the rich (why tax someone because they were, you know, successful?). The fact that these taxes could be very easily extended to the rest of us also concerns me. Washington hasn’t had an income tax and I don’t see why we should start now.
I-1100 ((Close state liquor stores; authorize sale, distribution, and importation of spirits by private parties; and repeal certain requirements that govern the business operations of beer and wine distributers and producers.)): Yes
Two words: free market. Two more words: cheaper alcohol. It also keeps the necessary taxes to regulate and enforce the industry.
I-1105 ((Close all state liquor stores and license private parties to sell or distribute spirits. It would revise laws concerning regulation, taxation and government revenues from distribution and sale of spirits.)): No
This initiate is very similar to the first, expect it transfers the monopoly from the state to private distributors (instead of anyone willing to cough up the money for a license). It also gets rid of the tax used to help regulate the industry, which actually is important.
I-1107 ((End sales tax on candy; end temporary sales tax on some bottled water; end temporary excise taxes on carbonated beverages; and reduce tax rates for certain food processors.)): No
This is my soft spot for taxes: using them as a method for encouraging better behavior (not to be confused with legislating morality).
R-52 ((Authorize bonds to finance construction and repair projects increasing energy efficiency in public schools and higher education buildings, and continue the sales tax on bottled water otherwise expiring in 2013.)): Rejected
To quote the Seattle Times, “The schools and colleges spend the state’s money and do not have to pay it back. They will have to say their projects will save energy, but no one will hold them to it.” Bad all around.
Senate Joint Resolution 8225 ((Require the state to reduce the interest accounted for in calculating the constitutional debt limit, by the amount of federal payments scheduled to be received to offset that interest.)): Approved
This one was a bit confusing at first, but I looked into it a bit:
Here is the story. Under a new program, Build America Bonds, the federal government pays 35 percent of the interest on taxable state bonds. It is an alternative to making the bonds federally tax-free, and for the state it is a better alternative for short- and medium-term bonds. The direct subsidy allows states to borrow more money to build roads, ferries, buildings, etc., with no extra cost to state taxpayers – not now, and not ever. From a state’s point of view, it is free money.
Washington state, however, has a limit on how much interest, as a total dollar sum, it can agree to pay on its total debt. That is the constitutional debt limit, and it is a necessary thing. The formula for setting the limit, however, was written assuming that all the interest on Washington bonds would be paid by Washington state. No one imagined the federal government would volunteer to pay some of the states’ interest bills.
The Stranger put it pretty succinctly, “This constitutional amendment would change the way the state calculates its total debt interest (moving to “net” interest rather than “full” interest as the basis for the calculation). This does not change the total debt limit, but allows us to borrow more federal money for important infrastructure projects.”
Okay, so maybe that one was more than three sentences.
Engrossed Substitute House Joint Resolution 4220 ((Authorize courts to deny bail for offenses punishable by the possibility of life in prison, on clear and convincing evidence of a propensity for violence that would likely endanger persons.)): Rejected
I feel like this was hastily put together and doesn’t have the foresight to anticipate abuse by the government. In short, the idea that someone could essentially be held indefinitely without trial is of severe concern to me.
King County Charter Amendment No. 1 ((Add language to the Preamble specifying that insuring responsibility and accountability applies to “local and regional governance and services.” It would also amend the current statement of purpose to “preserve a healthy environment” to read “preserve a healthy rural and urban environment and economy.”)): Yes
Just clarifying language, which I like.
King County Charter Amendment No. 2 ((Section 690 of the King County Charter to be amended to specify that timely filing of a statement of campaign receipts and expenditures with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission in accordance with chapter 42.17 RCW satisfies the filing obligations of Section 690 of the King County Charter, as provided in Ordinance No. 16885)): Yes
Essentially eliminates a reporting redundancy and reduces the burden on campaigns by allowing them to register with just the Washington State PDC.
King County Charter Amendment No. 3 ((Designate the King County sheriff as the county’s agent for collective bargaining with department of public safety employees on all issues for these employees except compensation and benefits, which would continue to be bargained by the executive. Currently, the sheriff can provide input, but has no authority over collective bargaining for these employees.)): Yes
I actually had to take a look at the language of this and it was a bit of a toss up, but in the end, I agreed with The Stranger assessment that it “transfers some public-safety employees’ bargaining responsibility from the King County executive to the King County sheriff. That would deliver a more independent and accountable sheriff’s office.”
King County Proposition No. 1 ((This proposition would authorize King County to fix and impose an additional sales and use tax of 0.2%, spilt between the county (60%) and cities (40%). At least one-third of all proceeds shall be used for criminal justice or fire protection purposes.)): Rejected
Why do we need additional funding? I’m not confident that we’re getting the most value for our money and I don’t believe raises taxes should be the first (or even second or third) thing done to close the budget gap.
United States Senator: Rossi
This is an important one and it’s going to be a close race, so listen carefully. I’m not a huge fan of Rossi, but I’m even less a fan of Murray (the incumbent). I’m in favor of cutting federal spending to reduce our debt, fixing the tax code, passing a balanced budged (although I have doubts if that will be possible…we’ll see), and repealing the heath care reform; as it turns out, Rossi is in favor of these things too.
State Representative, 46th District, Position No. 2: Gunderson
He’s young and I like voting against incumbents.
State Supreme Court Position No. 6: Wiggins
Rated “Exceptionally Well Qualified” by King County Bar Association. I also like voting against incumbents.
Seattle Municipal Court No. 1: McKenna
KcKenna was ranked as “exceptionally well qualified” by the King County Bar Association; the inncumbent was rated “qualified.” That’s enough for me.
Seattle Municipal Court No. 6: Donohue
Three words: electronic record keeping. The incumbent has done some good stuff, but it’s time he takes a break.
Seattle School District No. 1 Proposition No. 1 ((Partially replace reduced State funding and to improve education throughout Seattle Public Schools this proposition authorizes the District to levy supplemental taxes on all taxable property within the District, to help the District meet the educational needs of its approximately 45,507 students)): No
We spend some of the most money on schooling and get some of the worst results. I do not support funding school systems without comprehensive reform of the system.
As a note, I did not cast a vote for United States Representative congressional District No. 7 because I do not agree with either candidate. I also did not cast a vote for any position running unopposed.
Anyway, I’m going to go drop my ballot in the mail now.
- King County Voters Guide
- Washington State Voters Guide
- The Seattle Times recommendations for Nov. 2 ballot and links therein
- Seattle P-I editorial endorsements
- Stranger Election Endorsements Cheat Sheet
- Information provided by the parties involved