Editorial | Income Tax and Liquor Law Changes on the November Ballot (poll)

This election year will be an important one as Washington State voters will have several new ballot measures to vote on in the November 2 general election. The measures include instigation of a new income tax, privatization of State liquor sales and another Tim Eyman initiative to require a 2/3rds supermajority for all tax increases in the future (Washington voters passed a similar initiative, I-960 on the November 6, 2007 statewide ballot with 51.24% of the vote which was later repealed by the state legislature, hence Eyman is bringing it back again).

A Gift to Future Generations: Our Debt

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Taxes at the state and local levels need to be viewed in the context of our nation's federal spending habits. When the congress increases taxes or cuts services, the state and local governments feel the repercussions. As a nation, our deficit spending has gotten out of control. The current federal deficit for 2010 is over One Trillion Dollars and the national debt is over $13 Trillion. That's equivalent to more than $100,000 per U.S. household. This money must be paid back someday along with crushing interest payments. Our legacy to our children and grandchildren will be the burden of our budgetary mismanagement.

In this context, the combined taxing and spending decisions made at every level of government come home to roost. Ultimately, our ability to pay for the services we need today will be hindered by the interest payments on the debt we accrued long ago.

Washington State Initiatives

Below is a list of Washington State ballot measures which will be voted on in the November 2 general election as provided by Ballotpedia. It will be interesting to see how the electorate votes on the various tax measures in this off-year election. Will we reaffirm our 2007 vote to reign in Olympia by once again requiring a 2/3rds supermajority to raise taxes? Or will we choose to institute an income tax for the first time in Washington State history?

Three measures, referred to the ballot by the state legislature, have been certified for the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot. According to the secretary of state 82 initiatives have been filed. The filing deadline for the November 2010 ballot for an Initiative to the Legislature was December 31, 2009. The filing deadline for an Initiative to the People was July 2, 2010.

On the ballot

Type Title Subject Description
LRCA Judge Bail Authority Amendment Law enforcement Gives judges authority to deny bail whenever they deem the public at risk
LRCA State Debt Limits Amendment State budget Adjusts the state debt limits
LRSS Referred Bill 52 Bond issues Authorizes bonds for construction and repair projects increasing energy efficiency in public schools and higher ed. buildings

Proposed measures

Legislatively-referred

Type Title Subject Description Result
LRCA Build America Bonds Amendment Bond issues expand state use of federally subsidized Build America Bonds proposed
LRCA Income Tax Measure Taxes Income tax at 4.5% of income over $200,000; reduce sales tax proposed

Submitted signatures

Type Title Subject Description Result
ITP Save the Two-Thirds Vote for Tax Increases, Initiative 1055 (4) Taxes Will require 2/3 majority of the Washington State Legislature, or a statewide vote, for tax increases Signatures filed 7/2/10
ITP Workers' Comp Insurance Reform, Initiative 1082 (3) Labor Aimed at privatizing industrial insurance Signatures filed 6/30/2010
ITP Income Tax, Initiative 1098 (3) Taxes Tax gross income above $400,000 joint, reduce property tax levy Signatures filed 7/1/10
ITP Privatize State Liquor Stores, Initiative 1100 Alcohol Closes state liquor stores and authorizes sale, distribution, & importation by private parties Signatures filed 6/23/2010
ITP Revise State Liquor Laws, Initiative 1105 Alcohol Close all state liquor stores and license private parties to sell or distribute spirits. Revises laws concerning regulation, taxation and government revenues. Signatures filed 7/2/10
ITP Repeal Tax Law Amendments, Initiative 1107 (2) Taxes Would reverse certain 2010 amendments to state tax laws Signatures filed 7/2/10

Source: www.ballotopia.org