Inside Opinion

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Tag: Initiative 1240

Nov.
7th

State voters were generous – if there wasn’t a price

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Tuesday’s election returns suggest that Washington is becoming a libertarian paradise – a place where gays can marry, marijuana is legal and parents might even be given the choice of independent schools for their children.

But oh, by the way – not a penny more for public education or other state programs.

A telltale piece of evidence lies deep in the down-ballot election returns, in the tally on two advisory votes that have no legal effect whatsoever.

The 2012 Legislature voted to end a tax break for big banks and maintain a soon-to-expire tax on petroleum inventories.

Both moves got broad bipartisan support in the Legislature. When candidates talk about “loopholes,” they’re talking about items like the banks’ deduction for home-loan interest and tax breaks for the petroleum industry.

What did the voters think? Apparently, if it can be construed as a tax increase – even for a coddled industry – they don’t like it. On election day, the big banks got a 58 percent thumbs-up from the electorate.

Meanwhile, voters overwhelmingly enacted Initiative 1185, which reaffirmed the existing requirement that new taxes need a two-thirds majority in the Legislature. Even with two-thirds, the lawmakers in that supermajority must be publicly shamed through the advisory vote process, which involves publishing their names in the voters’ pamphlet.

Referendum 74’s narrow victory was a breakthrough for marriage equality. But it was no money out of pocket for Washingtonians. One wonders how it might have fared had it actually required some minimal financial sacrifice to enact it. It’s a fortunate thing that civil rights don’t come with a price tag attached.
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Sep.
11th

I-1240: An essential escape route from failing schools

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

We’ll let Initiative 1240 speak for itself.

The measure would authorize the creation of up to 40 charter schools, public schools freed from many bureaucratic regulations. They are commonly launched and governed by teachers and parents who believe their local schools are failing their students.

If enacted in November, the initiative would:

•  Give priority to charter organizers who want to serve disadvantaged children and students trapped in poorly performing traditional schools.

•  Require that charter schools comply with all state and federal nondiscrimination laws.

•  Allow them to specialize in teaching students at risk of academic failure, including children with disabilities or severe behavioral problems.

• Forbid any religious influence in admissions, hiring or instruction.

• Forbid them from charging tuition.

• Require that they be open to all students, with seats filled by lottery if demand exceeds capacity.

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