Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Initiative 1163

Nov.
9th

KISS principle prevailed in Washington’s elections

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

In the middle of the hardest economy most of us have known, the citizens of Pierce County on Tuesday approved a new tax. A sales tax, no less, to pay for better 911 system.

OK, it wasn’t a big tax – just an extra penny on a $10 purchase. But it wouldn’t have had a meatball’s chance in a pack of Rottweilers if citizens hadn’t been persuaded they were getting value for their money.

In this case, the value was considerable:

A unified countywide dispatch system to replace the balkanized hodgepodge of agencies that now handle emergency calls. A 21st-century digital radio system to replace aging and obsolete technology. Police, firefighters and dispatchers who can locate and talk to each other across Pierce County in a seamless communications system.

Proponents were selling something easy to understand – public safety – and voters bought it.

Like the election results or lump them – and we lump some of them – Washingtonians were persuaded by clarity when they filled out their ballots.
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Nov.
5th

Ballot measures: Look who wants to buy your vote

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Ballot measures account for most of the action in this off-year election, including gargantuan media battles over a couple of them.

Voters beware: All three initiatives on the state ballot have something in common – each got nearly all of its funding from a single source. A summary of our past recommendations:

Initiative 1183

Commercial fortunes are at stake with I-1183, which would privatize the sale of hard liquor in Washington. It promises immense profits to Costco, which has broken state spending records promoting it.

On the other side, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America – representing business profiting from the status quo – is funding a ferocious opposition.

Also in the mix are unions out to protect the employees of state liquor stores who could lose their jobs if Costco has its way with the electorate.

Amid the flurry of confusing ads, it’s easy to overlook the fundamental issue: Should the sale of liquor be tightly controlled or greatly expanded under a profit-driven model? We’re swayed by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control, which has concluded that privatization increases the abuse of alcohol and the social problems it fuels.

Initiative 1163

This measure is the handiwork of a single union, the Service Employees International Union, which is again exploiting the plight of elderly and disabled to advance its interests.
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Oct.
8th

I-1163: Can’t afford it, don’t need it, hurts the state

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

If you think this is a good time for the state to spend millions of dollars it doesn’t have on something it doesn’t need, Initiative 1163 is your baby.

Otherwise, kill this measure and let lawmakers try to do damage control on the state’s recession-stricken budget without the interference of another unfunded mandate.

I-1163 is a stinker wrapped up in pretty paper with a bow on top. Pushed by the Service Employees International Union, it purports to address a supposed epidemic of abuse in adult family homes and other long-term care settings.

To this end, it would require that the aides who work in those places get 75 hours of training – as opposed to the current 34 – and federal background checks.

These provisions actually are already state law; they were enacted in 2008 when voters approved Initiative 1029. The Legislature has twice pushed the effective dates down the road to postpone the measure’s administrative, training and federal screening costs.

Legislators kicked the can for good reason: The original initiative – like the current one – included no revenues to pay for itself. It may have looked like a freebie to voters, but it demanded that tens of millions of dollars be sucked out of existing programs.

Budget writers who knew the issue – and were struggling to spare such fundamentals as education, child protective services and necessary protection of people with disabilities – had no problem putting the initiative on hold.
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