by David Ammons | July 19th, 2010
Initiative activist Tim Eyman and his partners will again appear on the Washington state ballot this year. Their Initiative 1053, making it harder for Olympia to raise taxes, cleared its last major hurdle on Monday when the state Elections Division announced that the sponsors submitted enough voter signatures to make the November ballot.
I-1053 became the fourth initiative to qualify for the ballot, and two others are widely expected to qualify, too. That would equal the modern record set in 2000. The all-time record is seven, set in 1914, the first year the initiative process was available.
The I-1053 campaign turned in nearly 338,000 signatures, a large enough pad to allow a 3 percent random test. More than 80 percent of the 10,325 signatures were valid — 9,187 were accepted and 1,138 were rejected, most because they weren’t registered voters. The error rate was 19.62 percent.
The measure would restore the two-thirds voting requirement for the Legislature to raise taxes. Lawmakers can also refer taxes to the voters. Lawmakers suspended the supermajority requirement this year when passing $800 million worth of taxes by simple majority vote.
Last week, Secretary of State Sam Reed certified three measures to the ballot:
- I-1098, authorizing a state income tax on high-wage earners and lowering some taxes.
- I-1082, the plan to allow private insurers to offer coverage for workplace injuries.
- I-1100, which would end the state liquor monopoly and allow current retailers to sell hard liquor along with their beer and wine.
Next up: I-1105. This is a rival liquor initiative, supported by wholesalers, to take the state out of the liquor retail business. Whereas I-1100 would let retailers buy liquor stock directly from manufacturers, I-1105 would require use of wholesalers.
The last check will be I-1107. This measure would repeal new taxes on candy, pop, beer and bottled water.
The Legislature has sent three other measures to the statewide ballot this fall:
* Referendum 52 would 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.
* House Joint Resolution 4220, known as the “Lakewood Police Officers Memorial Act,” would amend the state constitution on bail requirements for judges.
* Senate Joint Resolution 8225 would amend the state constitution relating to debt limits for the state.