Last Tuesday voters made their voices heard on a variety of tax related issues. In Washington State it appears that anti-tax radical Tim Eyman won another initiative battle. The passage of Initiative 960 makes it more difficult for the state to raise needed revenue, but does little to increase government transparency or encourage economic development. Opponents of the measure rightly say that I-960 will increase dreaded red tape and bureaucracy. Read an FAQ about the initiative from the Washington Tax Fairness Coalition here.
But in a victory for tax justice, an earlier Eyman initiative has been ruled unconstitutional. This 2001 initiative, I-747, capped state and local property tax collections at 1 percent each year, unless a higher increase was approved by voters. Be on the lookout for more on how Washington responds to the passage of I-960 as courts may get involved again.
Elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, a ballot initiative to raise cigarette taxes and to use the funds to provide universal health care for children was defeated in Oregon, due in large part to the $12 million spent by RJ Reynolds and other tobacco companies to oppose it. Governor Ted Kulongoski, one of the initiative's key backers, has vowed to continue the fight for expanding health care.
To read about the outcomes of ballot measures across the country check out this report from the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.