All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Initiatives 2011

The legislative session is over, so Impolite attention turns to the people's legislative process -- the right to initiative petition.

Washington State Constitution, Declaration of Rights

"All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights." - Article 1, Section 1

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Initiative -1125 -- This measure would prohibit the use of motor vehicle fund revenue and vehicle toll revenue for non-transportation purposes, and require that road and bridge tolls be set by the legislature and be project-specific.

I-1125 restores I-1053's policies that Gregoire and the Legislature reversed this year. The governor and legislature imposed new tolls on bridge and highway use through a committee of bureaucrats appointed for the purpose -- in effect bypassing the legally required 2/3 super-majority to enact new tolls, fees, etc. Those increased revenues are being used principally to pay for the unsustainable increased levels of state spending. The state constitution requires revenues gathered from motor vehicle sources be devoted to motor vehicle purposes - highway construction, maintenance and the like.

The current, unlawful, practice in Olympia directs tolls to the general fund. Weirdly, there is an ad opposing 1125 which seems to claim road construction will be reduced by $500 million if 1125 is enacted. Not so. What will be reduced is $500 million from roads going into the general fund.

Impolite recommends you sign I-1125 and vote yes in November. The People have the right to control their government.

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The following measure has been withdrawn from the ballot. The Humane Society of the United States made an agreement with the egg industry. The agreement will effectively implement 1130 by 2029.

Initiative 1130 by the Humane Society of WA DC and the Farm Sanctuary of Watkins Glen, New York -- Initiative Measure No. 1130 concerns confinement of egg-laying hens. This measure would prohibit, with certain exceptions, confining hens in stacked cages or cages that limit the hens’ movement, and would prohibit the sale of eggs in the shell from hens so confined.

The well funded I-1130 is the only initiative who got their signature drive out of the gate on day one.

Through the end of April, they've raised a total of $372,011 with $207,035 from the Humane Society, 2100 L St NW, Washington DC 20037 and $150,000 from Farm Sanctuary Inc, PO Box 150, Watkins Glen, New York, 14891. They hired PCI Consultants Inc, 26500 Agoura Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302-1952 as their paid signature gathering firm and have paid them $260,224.30 so far.

I-1130 would allow chickens to "stretch their wings" and not live in production cages. If you know chickens, you know this is a pointless initiative. When the people of the state decided not to hunt cougars, we started seeing news reports of children mauled and killed by cougars. Although this initiative is similarly 'feel-good', at least chickens aren't as dangerous as cougars.

Some vegans say I-1130 doesn't go far enough and recommend a no vote.

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Initiative 1163 by the SIEU (Government employees union, Service Employees International Union Local 775) -- Initiative Measure No. 1163 concerns long-term care workers and services for elderly and disabled people. This measure would reinstate background checks, training, and entangling requirements for long-term care workers and providers. It also creates new financial accountability and administrative expenses for the long-term in-home care program.

Although caring for the elderly has the appearance of sweetness and light, the initiative will make long term care more costly without any real improvement. The metrics in the background check are subject to abuse.

Long term elder care is difficult for the care givers. Its tough to become friends with people and then have them die. That makes a turnover problem for the facilities. Adding in background checks will only alienate potential care givers.

Finally no amount of government imposed regulation can actually make one person care about another. The "feel good" aspect of the initiative is bankrupt from the start.

On April 25, the SEIU transferred $500,000 into a new initiative PAC. They hired PCI Consultants, Inc, 26500 Agoura Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302-1952 as their paid signature gathering firm to collect signatures from both I-1163 and I-1167. They recently abandoned the I-1167 signature drive and are now focusing their efforts on I-1163. The SEIU will certainly get I-1163 on the November ballot.

The SIEU government union has the most treasure to spend on a measure which will fatten their bank account, if enacted.

Big government treasure is being used to force I-1163 onto the ballot. Its a clear abuse of power. Impolite recommends you vote no on I-1163.

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Initiative 1183 by Costco, Washington Restaurant Association, NW Grocers Association, et al -- Initiative Measure No. 1183 would privatize the sale and distribution of liquor. The initiative is not as sweeping as I-1100 was.

Washington State imposed controls on liquor after prohibition was lifted in the 1930's At that time, liquor control was presented as promotion of public virtue. The state government makes 52% margin on liquor. Clearly, the state's actual reason is monopolistic pricing.

The state's principle use of liquor profits is to keep the public employees unions available to incumbent legislators. Government corrupts public virtue more effectively than private liquor sales ever could.

Impolite recommends you vote yes on I-1183.

See the Washington Wire discussion for another perspective.

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Legislative referenda will also appear on this Autumn's ballot.

SJR 8205 is a proposed constitutional amendment which would repeal a non-functioning part of the State's Constitution. The specific part is Article 6, Section 1A, which is a residency requirement for citizens who wish to vote in the federal election. The section was rendered inoperable by federal court order in 1976. Finally (or suddenly - depending on your perspective) the matter came to the legislature's attention.

Impolite will vote for SJR 8205, just to tidy up the constitution.

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SJR 8206 strengthens the set-aside requirement for the state's budget stabilization account, or "rainy day" fund, by specifying a portion of "extraordinary" revenue of good years be set aside in the fund. The fund is used to offset some types of shortfalls in years when state revenue is not so good, so that important spending (like school) can proceed.

Opponents of SJR 8206 make a funny argument that voters have not approved SJR 8206 yet, so they shouldn't vote for it. The opponents also view fat and lean years as no impediment to state spending.

Impolite recommends you vote Yes on SJR 8206.

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Note: Normally, Impolite would link the initiative petition number to the sponsors website. But some initiative's campaigns don't have working websites yet, so those initiative numbers are linked to the official text of the initiative petition.

18 comments:

  1. 1183. I must disagree with your recommendation for this initiative. Section 101, article 2.g. clearly moves the monopoly from the state government to the "big-box" stores. If we are going to privatize liquor sales, then dos so completely and without establishing a new, privatized monopoly that will be enforced by the state government.

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  2. 1130. I agree with your recommendation on this initiative. In the fine print of this initiative there is a section that prohibits any restriction of the animal's movement. Therefore, if I lock my personal laying hens in a coop at night (for their protection from predators by the way) then I have violated the letter of this initiatives law.

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  3. Anon on 1183 is right in that the measure does not go to a free market solution. But the main power of the state's monopoly interest will be broken. We will have to take this a step at a time.

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  4. The collective of "big-box stores" is in fact, not a monopoly, nor could it even be a cartel. It is plenty of competition.

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  5. thanks for the info. i see we disagree on basically everything.

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  6. The end result of this initiative passing will transfer the state monopoly to a big "box" store monopoly. The mark-up costs will be passed onto the consumer in order to keep up with so-called promised state revenues. Major corporations such as Costco, Kroeger & Safeway only care about profit margins, they aren't going to sell anything unless they stand to make a hefty profit. This initiative is a wolf in sheeps clothing.

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  7. Been to California? Drunks everywhere, fighting on the streets, rampant vagrancy, and a long time alcohol poisoning epidemic. These problems aren't everywhere every minute but are more obvious in CA than in Washington. Visitors to CA visibly notice the difference--especially in metro areas--which Seattle is a large one and could become as dysfunctional on the streets as SF,SD, or even LA. Having to schedule time in the day to get hard alcohol is an inconvenience that's worth it for cleaner streets. Washington is decent place to live, why emulate states that are nothing like WA.

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  8. 1183 will make Washington more like Texas or Idaho than California. California's problem set probably come from other causes than liquor abuse, although liquor abuse (when it happens) is certainly a problem.

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  9. Prop 1183 is a bad idea. If you read the prop all the way through you will have less selection and less outlets to buy from. Because people in Wa. were worried about a liquor store on every corner the prop say's only stores with a 10.000sq. ft. footprint of retail space may sell liquor under this prop. There not a whole lot of stores that big. Costco, Walmart, Fred Meyers, maybe Target, maybe Safeway super stores. I think there's a lot more state liquor store in state than those. As for the selection there not going to make there stores bigger. Most of them will strip wines off there shelves to make room for the liquor. There goes your selection of wines. In the states they have passed this the retailers only carry 4 to 5 of a type of liquor. (rum, gin, vodka...ect) There goes your selection of liquor. The law needs to change but this one just let's the big guys take control.

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  10. Gordon H, I'm glad you read the act. I like variety and availability too.

    The Initiative 1183, Sec. 102 (4) makes it clear the state government is to auction off existing liquor store sites along with their liquor license. So there will be no reduction in the availability of liquor selling sites as a result of the act.

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  11. Gordon H. If you read the initiative "all the way through", you will find that in section 103.3(a) it states that except as already provided in subsection (c) the facility must be 10.000sq. ft. of enclosed retail space. Subsection (c) however, states that all locations procured through the auctioned off state liquor stores are not allowed to be denied by the board based off location, nature, or size. Also, sub-subsection (i)states that size cannot be considered when there is no retail spirits license holder in the trade area that the applicant proposes to serve. If you actually read the whole thing than you either misrepresented the facts or you don't know how to interpret something. In that case...READ, RE-READ, and THINK before you blog incorrect info.

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  12. One more thing, I am a resident of California living in Washington as a guest because of the military. I could care less whether or not this initiative passes; I only want "lazy" voters that rely on the blogs for their decisions to be presented the WHOLE picture. If you present yourself as a well read source and only present a portion of the facts you cheat people out of a well informed decision.

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  13. I am all for keep the State out of the sale of liquor, but am I reading the voter's pamphlet correctly? The State sales tax on liquor sales (currently 20.5%) by retailers stays the same and a new liquor sales tax (which is called a license fee) is added? The licensing fee for distributors is 10% of their selling price (i.e., wholesale price) for the first 2 years and 5% thereafter. The licensing fee for retailers is 17% of retail price. On top of that, the retailers will now be subject to the State Business and Occupation (B&O) tax which, for retailers, is 0.471%. With compounding of the taxes, this is a 29.3% tax on liquor sales for 2 years and a 23.4% tax thereafter.

    I am not sure I want to pay an extra 23 to 29% for my whiskey for the convience of purchasing it at the grocery store. I think they should have eliminated the curent tax, passed on the new tax, and let the liquor be taxed under the existing sales tax.

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  14. Mike B, The 27% tax increase is offset by the elimination of the state's 52% markup in retail prices, before the addition of the state's current liquor tax, which is $26.45 per gallon of alcohol.

    The current picture is complex; that is how government make things. The private market tends to make things as simple as possible, in order to control cost. The argument for 1183 is confidence the private market will be able to deliver goods better than the government controlled market can.

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  15. Dear Impolite, your accusation that Cantwell and Murray are "authoritarian left" and the following definition are so wrong I don't know where to start. For beginners, lets re work your scenario to more accurately reflect how American politics really works: Suppose that %51 of the people want to provide a benefit that will be used by %10 and then gets paid for by %80. That’s democracy not authoritarianism. (and you do have the courts to protect you against the so called "tyranny of the majority"). Second, your percentages are off. It might be %51 voting for a benefit used by %10, or it might be used by %80, or %75 voting for something used by %99 at sometime in their life but only %10 at a time. Third, government isn't the only thing that can take your stuff. Think of un regulated polluters, think of market timing and hidden fees in your 401k. Thinks of SLAPS. And finally, like it or not, there are things in this world that everybody needs and everybody needs to work together to create (defense, infrastructure, education) and/or to defend (clean air and water, a safe financial system). It's not authoritarian to make everyone contribute.

    I don't know why you used the word authoritarian, but the definition of the word clearly does not match the people you are using it against. I'm going to guess that you are using it to be inflammatory (because it is not a neutral word) rather than descriptive (because it really does not apply here).

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  16. Dear Anonymous

    Authoritarianism requires the individuals to submit to authority – specifically, individuals are required to submit to the social organization built by those in power. In a democracy, “those in power” is determined by a majority, even only 51%.

    You may find yourself in agreement with the Senators – you may find yourself in the majority. Do you think just being in the majority gives you the right to regulate the minority? It is precisely authoritarian to make everyone contribute.

    The clash is between freedom and authoritarianism. Authoritarianism requires force to compel obedience. The more decision latitude the leaders desire, the more often force will be applied. A more free society will not force conformity as often. Note that freedom and democracy are not the same.

    The Senators get labeled authoritarian because they each have vote to restrict the people having full authority over their own lives. The most egregious example is the health care law which heavily invades medical privacy and restricts who may refuse to get the required medical insurance. The health law also takes away your right to choose. For example, if you are healthy and take good care of yourself, you still have to insure for a sex change benefit the new federal law mandates.

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  17. What about the 900 state workers who will be unemployed because Costco wants to make even more millions of dollars. what about the family's of those workers.

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  18. Anonymous 12.11.2011,
    What about the 160 state parks employees Gregoire just laid off? What about there families? Do you plan to blame Costco for that too?

    Your hatred blinds you to the fact this state needs sound government, not the sloppy, self-indulgent management we've been getting.

    If Costco makes millions, they will employ workers -- including some of those experienced workers whom the state lets go.

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