This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
It’s not just that Initiative 1033 lost, but the margin by which it lost: 12 percent, as of Wednesday afternoon.
A blow-out. Even some of Eastern Washington’s conservative counties joined the Puget Sound region in shooting down a Tim Eyman measure designed to sharply curb government spending. This in a year when many voters have been feeling plenty of their own financial pain.
Several factors were at work.
Washingtonians pay attention. They weren’t looking at just their own households this year; they were looking at the condition of their state and local governments.
They’ve seen police protection and other vital local services threatened. They’ve seen the Legislature cut deeply into higher education and health insurance for the working poor. They’ve seen some convicts given Get-Out-of-Jail-Early cards and others freed from community supervision. They’ve seen the public schools squeezed.
Many voters, it appears, didn’t want to institutionalize this kind of distress as the new baseline for public budgets, which is precisely what I-1033 would have done.
Also, the Legislature’s ruling Democrats gritted their teeth, slashed some of their most cherished programs and balanced a hard-times budget without attempting a general tax increase.
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