November 07, 2007
At a glance: Ballot measures
Despite the fact that there was thankfully only one state-wide initiative for voters to chew on, there were plenty of other measures on the ballot. So, boring lede completed...
I-25: Other than Prop. 1 Roads and Transit, making the county's auditor an elected, non-partisan position was probably the most important issue decided in the state even though it was only a King County affair. The measure is garnering 58 percent of the vote at the moment.
I-25 was a no brainer. Stefan, and others, have fully explained its benefits.
The only stated drawback of electing an auditor is the distraction that individual will face running for re-election every four years; the same distraction that the 38 other county auditors seem somehow to cope with. Of course the unstated drawback is the King County Executive - no matter the party - will no longer be able to use the election department as a machine to further his own political goals.
The political importance of I-25, of course, is its influence on the 2008 election. The need for an elected auditor is just further fallout from the 2004 recount debacle. Voters remembered yesterday. Now will they remember next year?
Oh, and one other thing. People who make a hobby of donating to campaigns should probably budget for a run by Toby Nixon; dollars to doughnuts he's gunning for county auditor...
I-960: Its passage means Tim Eyman is back on his game. Hopefully Eyman has learned that running initiatives seeking to fix fiscal issues is a far more profitable use of his valuable time than getting bogged down with social issues seeking to overturn "gay rights" legislation...
I'm sure Tim will be pasting the text of his victory speech, and other thoughts, which he has e-mailed everyone down in the comment section directly.
The betting pool now begins on when a lawsuit will be filed seeking to overturn I-960 and how long it will take the State Supreme Court to toss it.
Referendum 67: This is about the only election item that progressives/liberals can really feel good about this morning. Personally, this legislation, pitting trial lawyers against insurance companies, is much like the Iran-Iraq war to me. It is a pity that both sides couldn't lose.
So R-67 is up 57-43 across the state. Hold hand outwards, palm up with your elbow at a 90 degree angle. Curl hand until thumb touches middle finger. In quick, repeated movements, jerk your hand across the axis of your body several times. Whoopee.
EHJR 4204 (Simple Majority for School Levies): It is rather surprising that this is failing. After all, school levies are for the children. Right? I guess being rejected 48-52 counts as a simple majority.
Shocking as it sounds I voted in favor of this legislation. One of the constitutional duties of the state is to fund education. Having covered numerous school levy races, mostly in rural districts, it's always interesting to hear the rationale folks use to vote against school funding. Basically it is anger at school boards and administrators running schools with bad curriculum, poor student performance and wasteful spending, etc. Yet, all across the state, there are school board candidates who ran un-opposed. On my ballot (Eatonville) none of the school board races were challenged.
SJR 8212 (Inmate Labor): When I opened my mail ballot yesterday this was one of the most pleasant surprises that popped off the page. It was kind of like getting Sports Illustrated in the mail, knowing there'll be a good piece on Brett Favre and discovering the editors included a 15-page photo essay on women's beach volleyball. In a political dork kind of way...
Admittedly, I didn't read the voters pamphlet about this issue. And probably like most voters, when I saw the ballot title, the thought of seeing inmate chain gangs alongside the roads picking up trash and pulling Scotch broom crossed my mind. So naturally I voted hell yes.
SJR 8212 is passing with 60 percent of the vote.
No failure to communicate here.
Posted by DonWard at November 07, 2007
11:17 AM | Email This
Why in God's name did you vote for EHJR 4204? The practical effect of school levies is to do two things: A. Make those in charge less accountable, B. Shovel money to teachers unions.
If I thought it would give kids better education, I'd vote for it, but it won't, and that's obvious.
R-67 *will* increase our insurance rates. For all of us. But there *is* a problem with insurance that R-67 tried to address, and the R-67 told people many lies to convince them to vote for it.
I voted against it because it is a bad solution to the problem, and because I was offended not just by the lies, but by my own elected officials lying to me.
But it is not the worst solution to the problem, so I won't cry about it. But it is undeniable: all of our insurance rates are going up. Enjoy.
I have no sympathy for you or any other who voted in favor of EHJR 4204, the school levy simple majority measure.
My sympathies are for:
Students who endure the mindless, agenda-driven indoctrination that passes for education in this generation.
Taxpayers, mostly property owners, who a stuck paying for a substandard education system.
Parents, who must grieve at the "diversity"/ "global warming" , etc. garbage their children are being fed in lieu of quality education.
College Professors, who spend their time teaching "99"-level classes, instead of college-level material, to incoming freshmen.
And lastly, employers who struggle to find entry-level employees who can actually read, write, speak and perform simple mathematial calculations.
4. Here's why I voted against school levies: If we had elections only once a year (as we should), then I wouldn't mind. But school districts have this bad habit of calling for special elections in say, March on additional levies with no real public debate. Why do they do this? Because voter turnout stinks on those days...a simple majority would amount to a blank check for people who aren't accounting for what they have very well.
One more comment: I hope Toby Nixon does NOT run for state auditor. We can find him some other position.
The reason I say this is that Sonntag is one of the very few reasonable democrats in the entire state. Better to keep guys like him in state government than people like Larry Phillips, Constantine, Sims and some of the other dingbats.
I think Don was referring to Toby Nixon as a potential candidate for King County Auditor.
7. King County auditor? Wouldn't that be a step down for a guy like Toby?
A simple majority might be fine if the Levy elections were regularly on the November elections. And even more sane if they were on the even-year-only November elections.
As it is, the turnout for those elections is already so low that Teachers + Spouses + Administrators + Support Staff is a huge chunk of the vote. It is hardly surprising they manage a 90% success rate on the Levies as it is.
from: tim eyman, I-960 co-sponsor
November 6, 2007
To: Our thousands of supporters throughout the state (cc'd to the media, house & senate members, and Governor)
From: Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, Mike Fagan, co-sponsors of the Taxpayer Protection Initiative of 2007, ph: 425-493-9127, email: email@example.com, http://www.VotersWantMoreChoices.com
RE: EYMAN/FAGANS STATEMENT ON I-960 AT 7:50 PM
It's 12:30 am - just got home - super jazzed about I-960 victory. Here's our statement that we released at 7:50 pm BEFORE THE POLLS CLOSED.
Will obviously have more to say tomorrow, but for now, YO ADRIAN, WE DID IT!!
EYMAN/FAGAN'S STATEMENT AT 7:50 PM ON ELECTION NIGHT, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6TH
Whatever happens with Initiative 960 tonight, Jack, Mike and I want everyone to know that it has been our greatest pleasure working with so many heroic supporters this year on this campaign. We respect and admire all of you for your enthusiasm and determination to make a difference.
Regardless of the voters' ultimate verdict on 960, this campaign has been a tremendous success. Olympia's repeated violations of our laws have been widely reported to the people. The public has a much greater understanding of the Legislature's repeated abuse of the emergency clause and its negation of our constitutional rights. The state budget office's inability to identify how many fees the state imposes is now widely known. Thanks to the campaign for I-960, the people forced the government and its representatives to explain themselves.
We heard from Governor Gregoire that 960's "extra handcuffs" aren't necessary because she promised higher taxes won't be needed to sustain the Legislature's massive increase in spending and that the use of the emergency clause is decreasing. There's no doubt that some voters were moved to vote no on I-960 because they believed these promises. Whether 960 receives 50% plus one of the vote tonight is unknown at this time.
But because of all the voter education on state government provided to the people during this campaign, we cannot see 960 as anything other than a tremendous success.
Thanks to the voters, our initiatives over the years have produced significant savings for Washington taxpayers -- over $9.1 billion so far.
But more importantly, our initiatives' influence on Washington state politics has been truly remarkable. Our supporters should be extremely proud of our collective accomplishments.
* Vehicle tabs are dramatically lower
* Property tax increases are six times smaller than they otherwise would be
* The State Auditor is conducting comprehensive performance audits of state and local governments for the first time in 40 years
* We've been repeatedly successful at beating back Olympia's legislative assault against the initiative process
* And politicians are asking voters' permission on tax increases
Jack, Mike, and I are very lucky men. We get to work on meaty issues that challenge our government to do better. We get to work with thousands of heroic supporters whose faith, hard work, and determination help make these efforts a success. And we get to provide voters with more choices at the ballot box and give the average taxpayer an equal voice in the process. We've put Olympia on a much shorter leash. And we've had a lot of fun doing it.
Taxpayers all over Washington are counting on us to keep fighting for them -- we won't let them down.
As for what we've got planned for 2008, stay tuned.
We ask everyone to join us in thanking our thousands of supporters throughout the state who collected the voter signatures and donated the dollars necessary to qualify I-960 for the ballot. Taxpayers appreciate your efforts and so do we.
Super supporter Mike Dunmire really stepped up the plate to help with Initiative 960 -- his leadership helped inspire thousands of our supporters to get 960 on the ballot this year.
Special thanks to state senators Don Benton and Pam Roach, state representatives Ed Orcutt and Cary Condotta, the folks at the Washington Policy Center and Evergreen Freedom Foundation, and our attorneys Dick Stephens and Jim Rigby for helping us draft Initiative 960. We'd also like to thank talk show professionals Dan Sytman and David Boze at KTTH, John Carlson, Kirby Wilbur, and Brian Suits at KVI, Dori Monson and Frank Shiers on KIRO, Mike Bastinelli at KIT, and Dennis Shannon at KONA, and Mike Fitzsimmons at KXLY for their advocacy of I-960. Thanks also to columnists Adele Ferguson, Elizabeth Hovde, John Carlson, and Pam Dzama and the Seattle Times, Everett Herald, Centralia Chronicle, and Yakima Business Times for endorsing and supporting 960's policies. I'd also like to personally thank the editorial board members, TV, radio, and newspaper reporters who seemed to try really hard to report on I-960 accurately.
Ultimate thanks go to the 314,000 voters who voluntarily signed I-960 petitions and to the 100's of thousands of voters who supported I-960 at the ballot box.
Regardless of the ultimate decision of voters, let me close by saying that Jack, Mike, and I formally declare victory with Initiative 960 right now. It's provided a huge benefit already to the taxpayers of Washington. Thank you.
-- END --
We thank you all for taking I-960 over the finish line and chalking up a significant victory for taxpayers. Thanks.
Regards, Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, Mike Fagan, co-sponsors of the Taxpayer Protection Initiative of 2007, ph: 425-493-9127, email:
P.S. There are thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and special interest groups working each and every day to raise your taxes. Shouldn't there be at least one person, one team, one organization that fights to lower your taxes? Please help us so we can continue our successful efforts on behalf of taxpayers.
It would be, in my opinion also. But heaven knows King County Elections needs a guy like Nixon in the Auditor's chair. Someone really needs to take the Lysol to KCE, as the place stinks all the way to the Governor's mansion.
Dear Mr. Pudge
May you never be involved in a traffic accident. I was t-boned in January and have had 2 major neurosurgeries and am laid up.
The responsible insurance company (-ies) has (have) been nothing but _______. (Rhymes with bricks.)
Their driver was 100% liable and even got cited on the original police report for failing to yield, but the guilty party's company has:
1. kept me on hold for so long that I have given up (is an hour on hold enough?)
2. "lost" files
3. questioned paying bills without telling me, then when I get the angry letter from the medical provider, I have to do their backtrack work.
4. sent me paperwork to complete, which I did, then they "lost" same. Repeatedly.
5. approved certain medical treatments, then denied after the fact. Only when I was able to quote conversations with dates, names, etc., have they paid. It is only because I kept voluminous notes of pritnear everything.
I am working this WITHOUT a lawyer and have the time, brains, and motivation to do so, but I can easily see why folks voted for the Referendum. The insurance company has no motivation to be honest or even ACT like it.
And all it takes is one good accident with a bad injury and one instantly realizes how _____ this is. Until this referendum, there simply was zero motivation for the insurance folks to even PRETEND to be honorable and/or legal.
As stated, I hope you aren't in a serious enough accident to go through this g.d. ordeal.
The issue with using prison populations for labor is that they compete with, and undercut legitimate businesses that can't match what is effectively slave labor. I've seen it numerous times - machine shops and the like closing shop because the local jail has a few hundred bored inmates willing to work for 1/10th the going rate so they can afford cigarettes. As a result there will be people out looking for work - perhaps not now when the economy is cooking along and unemployment is low, but sooner or later this will end up hurting people.
Chain gangs picking up litter is one thing, this will be something else entirely.
Nothing you said argued against anything I said. So why do you take a name that implies that you are against what I said?
"One of the constitutional duties of the state is to fund education."
True. But does "funding education" include an unnecessary bureaucracy that cost us tens of millions every year? You know, the nonsensical ESD's where office pogues are paid high 5 and low 6 figure salaries for their administrative jobs, duplicating the work already done by districts?
If the money just went to "fund education," I'd be thrilled to pay it. But it also goes to fund teacher union idiocy, and provide them with millions to use to further their agenda in ways we already know.
These clowns already have guaranteed pay raises regardless of performance and in addition to their guaranteed step increases.
Fund education? You bet. But fund a bloated and typically unnecessary adminsistration?
DonWard: the school levy thing I think is driven by two big factors.
First, a deeply ingrained Washingtonian value that "60%" is what we should require for these taxing districts to raise more money. Why change it now?
Second, with DRASTICALLY rising property taxes, even though no one can sell their houses at the valuations the government is taxing us on, people don't want to make it EASIER for ANYONE to raise taxes.
People are not voting against school funding. They are voting against making it easier to tax.
16. No mas! No mas!
I'm going to have to cry uncle for the moment since I'm getting whalloped on my school levy indiscretion.
Trying to write another "At a glance" piece or two and don't have the time to defend myself. Especially since I'm distracted wanting to get into a Levy, Yes, No and what percent question with you guys.
Suppose this will warrant a lone post later on in the week where I can fully defend my unique position. If possible...
But I have a good reason. They're all written up. I keep them in a brief case, handcuffed to my wrist. Oh yes.
But anyway, do keep whacking away at my shins if you must. Or, you know, you could comment about some of the other issues... Huh guys?
17. Shame on you, Don. You need to research more on the R-67 issue. Did anyone think about all the WA State requirements on insurance plans and companies? There is an Insurance Commissioner who will look into the issue if a claiment has a problem. Are you one of the whiners who can't get your insurance company to pay but you do not have a reliable agent who will help you nor a good insurance company, but simply the cheapest--maybe even doing your own insurance planning thru the internet!
Sandy, Don only wanted shin shots; you nailed him in the solar plexus and he is doubled over in pain.
That'll teach him to bring a spitwad to a slingshot duel.
Sandy, yes, the biggest problem with R-67 is that it further hurts the people who need better insurance the most.
If you have cheap insurance, it's because you can't afford much else. But the only reason it's cheap is because they are more likely to not help you if you need it, to deny a claim, and so on. It means more work on your part should the claim be in any way questionable.
So what R-67 means is that those companies will either go out of business, or their rates will go WAY up to cover having to pay out more.
Sure, that's good for you if you need a payout, but a lot worse for you if you don't ... especially if you can't afford the increases that are necessarily coming.
No. I use online medical websites to search my symptoms. My last four saved searches have been sweaty palms, restless leg syndrome, heat rash and goiter. Then after I've come to a diagnosis, I go to church, pray real hard, and ask Jesus to heal my afflictions...
Back to R-67. Trial lawyers vs. insurance companies. I choose neither.
Your comments were good BUT I disagree with your statement that if you have cheap insurance, it is because you cannot afford more. That is certainly true of many people but I have seen the people who could afford to pay for decent insurance change plans for a savings of $5 which then puts them in unstable companies. If we have problems with insurance companies paying, maybe we should look at our Insurance Commissioner????
I have property I am going to sell but I am having problems because we found gas from leaky gas tanks.
We are suing the fuel company.
Lately, this company in particular has not been participating in lawsuits against them and have judgements levied against them.
Their strategy- come and get me if you have enough money. In my case, their involvement is about 30k and the attorney fees would be about 15-25k to collect. I am a principle guy and may go after them and try to collect, but the business side of me says to let them get away with it.
Won't the insurance companies try the same thing now, too? They just may get more ornery and for sure, they will raise rates.
23. Eastside Sandy - I couldn't agree more. In fact, I was physically ill when I saw the commercial with the Insurance Commissioner supporting passage of 67! I couldn't believe my ears and eyes. It's HIS JOB to take care of claims being unfairly or falsely denied. And most folks never did make the connection that as a minnion of our Queen, he had to come out for 67, due to the immense pressure by the legal lobby. The next TV commercials we will seeing will be directly from law firms saying something like: "Been denied on an insurance claim? We'll help you get your money. Just call 1-800.... And don't forget to pay us our commission on top of the legal services fee out of your enormous, three times normal settlement"...
What a hoax!
Don Ward states regarding the proposed simple majority amendment that he voted for it, and he gives as a reason (I suppose): "One of the constitutional duties of the state is to fund education."
That kind of illogical statement is what makes me wonder if there is anyone who has a rational and non-sinister basis for voting in favor of approving excess levies with a simple majority.
I have never seen a logical and accurate argument put forward for the proposed simple majority. Never.
The simple fact of the matter is that the state does have a constitutional duty to provide funding for all public schools -- but local excess levies are not, repeat not, state funding. They are local -- collected only within the school district which imposes them. They cannot satisfy the state's obligation to fund schools.
The super majority requirement for approval of excess levies simply enforces the limit set in the constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 1972. That year, two amendments were adopted. One lowered the limit on the allowable aggregate amount of all regular property tax levies to 1 percent of market value. (It had been 2 percent since the amendment adopted in 1944.) The other amendment took away the ability of would-be "no voters" to abstain from casting a vote and thereby defeat a levy proposal by causing a turnout of less than 40 percent.
The super majority requirement and the requirement for a number of "yes" votes equal to what could have approved the proposal with a 40 percent turnout were retained in 1972.
It's simply a way to make it more difficult to place a greater tax burden on property.
The other means of providing funding for schools are not affected by this requirement. The legislators can increase school funding with a simple majority vote in the legislature any time they want, as they adopt the budget and appropriate the funds.
Increase state funding, including "levy equalization funding," and lower the school districts' "levy lid." Then, you won't need to worry about gaining the approval of a super majority for the smaller excess levies. The burden carried by property taxes will stay closer to the 1 percent limit set in 1972, and the schools will have the money they need.
Micajah - you ask "I have never seen a logical and accurate argument put forward for the proposed simple majority. Never."
Here's my reason for supporting it:
When the people are voting, it takes 50%+1 to elect every officeholder and to enact every initiative or other measure on the ballot, except for school levies. Why should these particular bills be held to a different standard than EVERYTHING else the people make a choice on?
The two most common responses I'd expect to see here are:
1) All tax increases should be supermajority. My response would be that's a legitimate point, but I think it should be consistent across the board either way.
2) The levy votes should be in November instead of February, when turnout is less. I actually would prefer that as well, but for the school year budgets, spring is better than fall. And if push comes to shove, the date is less important than the simple- vs. supermajority to me. It's not the levies fault if people don't get out and vote.
Mr. Smitty, the issue is whether to make it easier to exceed the limit on regular property tax levies -- set in 1972 at 1 percent of market value.
Electing legislators or other officials is a different matter, but the effect of even such elections is often something other than a direct reflection of the votes cast by a simple majority. For example, a legislator who gets 80 percent of the vote in his district gets only one vote in the legislature, just like the legislator who won with only 51 percent in another district. There is an intended leveling to make it harder for legislation to be enacted. There is no proportional vote by legislators based on their winning percentages.
You say that all other ballot measures require a simple majority, but your statement is inaccurate.
Emergency medical service levies here in Washington are property taxes, and they are regular levies within the 1 percent limit adopted in 1972 -- yet they require the same 60 percent super majority approval and have the same requirements regarding turnout as excess levies.
When EMS levies were authorized in 1979, the 1 percent limit on aggregate regular levies had already been parceled out to taxing districts and the state school tax, so part of the compromise in putting them into law included this super majority requirement. You can find a snippet of the history in this Attorney General Opinion:
When speaking in support of her proposed amendment, Representative Craswell stated:
Thank you Mr. Speaker, members of the House. This is the other half of the corrective measure the committee would like to take care of the problem that Representative Sommers just referred to. This puts the new emergency services levy back under the 106 percent lid which the committee had attempted to do in the first place but was running into problems with the 1 percent lid. So, with this amendment, it would then have to be within the 106 percent lid. I urge your support.
See House Journal, 46th Legislature (1979), at 1327 (emphasis added). The amendment was adopted and the new limitation, with minor wording changes by the Senate, became part of the final enactment.
Whenever we want to make something harder to do, we tend to require something more than a simple majority. Overriding an executive's veto, for example, requires two-thirds approval in each house of the legislature. Amending the constitution requires a two-thirds approval in each house -- and having met this super majority requirement, then it must also receive a simple majority vote by the people.
The question is whether to make it easier to exceed the limit on regular property tax levies by removing the super majority requirement.
This limit applies to all excess levies. The only government entities that aren't subject to the 1 percent limit on regular levies are port districts and public utility districts -- apparently because the people of Washington believe they need those government entities to do things for them that the market economy cannot do as well. (This "Populist" legacy of Washington is still with us.)
School districts aren't the only ones who must meet the super majority requirement for excess levies. They are, of course, the only ones (other than entities putting EMS levies on the ballot) who frequently must get this level of approval.
The simple majority amendment which seems to have been rejected this year by the voters would have made an exception for school district levies (other than levies to pay off bond debt for school construction).
Saying that we do other things by simple majority is not a sound response, since the point of the super majority requirement is to make it harder to exceed the limit on this particular thing -- and the question is whether to stop making it so hard.
27. The levy votes should be in November instead of February, when turnout is less. I actually would prefer that as well, but for the school year budgets, spring is better than fall. And if push comes to shove, the date is less important than the simple- vs. supermajority to me. It's not the levies fault if people don't get out and vote.
The date is more important to me than simple vs supermajority. It should absolutely be in November. People don't realize it is time to vote. They just get a ballot in the mail, they have no information to base their vote on, and you cannot get an informed vote out of it.
I can't tell you how many people I have talked to in the last 2 days since the election that did not realize R-67 wasn't about healthcare insurance. They thought they were going to stick it to those evil health insurance companies and were very surprised.
Of course, it doesn't help when the Trial Lawyers lobby hauled out their "firefighters" commercial claiming the guy didn't get the care he needed. They had to pull it later because it was found he wasn't denied coverage for monetary reasons... it was because he died before it could be performed. And also it had nothing to do with the initiative at all. But of course, when has blatant lying ever stopped them?
Thank you very much, Ken and Katomar, for bringing out very good points on R-67. The Ins. Commissioner actually was saying he and/or his office was not doing their job. When I saw that the commercial about the firefighter was a complete lie, I would not have voted for R-67 under any terms. If that is a lie, then the whole referendum is a lie! People have to become more informed or they should not vote. Even if R-67 concerned health insurance, we have to look at the mandates the State of WA puts on it. The insurance companies are just as frustrated. The former Commissioner eliminated just about all health insurance from Washington.
I have one more point--the average person tries to be honest. However, we have lots of people out there that lie and cheat every chance they get. Many times a claim that looks straight ends up with some problems. Again, a good agent and a good company will usually take care of the problems. If that does not work, try the Insurance Commissioner and make him do his job!