Tag Archives: R-71

Reed Predicts 51 Percent Turnout

Sam Reed, Washington’s secretary of state, is predicting a 51 percent voter turnout for the off-year election. And he calls that number “respectable.”
It’s in line with off-year turnouts for the last 40 years, but it’s a far cry from last year’s record-high turnout of 85 percent. Exciting races for president and governor coaxed even reluctant voters to cast a ballot in 2008.
This year, the only statewide ballot issues concern unmarried domestic partner rights and property taxes. The League of Women Voters recommends voting yes on R-71 and no on I-1033. The latest polls show voters leaning toward the same positions.
The Washington Poll, from the University of Washington, showed R-71 winning by 56 percent to 39 percent among registered voters. If passed, the referendum would affirm the domestic partner law passed by the Legislature. It provides legal protections for lesbian and gay couples and seniors who are in committed relationships.
The poll also showed registered voters rejecting I-1033 by 46 percent to 41 percent, with 13 percent undecided. Among likely voters and those who had already voted the no margin was higher, with 49 percent saying they would vote or had voted no and 40 percent indicating they would vote yes.
I-1033 is a Tim Eyman-sponsored initiative that would limit revenue increases for state, city and county governments to the rate of inflation and population growth. Any money collected above the limit would be used to reduce property taxes.
While the potential effects of this measure were not entirely clear, the governor’s budget office projected it would divert more than $8 billion from state, city and county general funds into property-tax relief from 2011 to 2015.
The latest Public Disclosure Commission figures show the No on 1033 Committee has raised nearly $3.5 million to fight the measure and has spent $3.2 million. Many unions, including the National Education Association, the Teamsters and the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) have contributed large sums, as has Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. Eyman’s group, in contrast, raised only $670,000 in support of the initiative.
Most of us have probably voted by now, but if, by chance, you still have that ballot sitting on your kitchen table, be sure to fill it out and mail it in ASAP. Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 in order to count for this election.

I-1033, R-71 Debated in Forum

Opponents of Initiative 1033 say that if passed the ballot measure would be devastating to state and local government, hurting police, fire, health and education services just when tax revenues are already hit hard by recession.
Supporters of the initiative say it would do what lawmakers should have done already – make sure that government lives within its means.
Representatives of the two sides spoke at a League of Women Voters of Kitsap forum Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the Eagles Nest near the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.
Karen Rogers, a Port Angeles city council member and small business owner, said the vote on the Tim Eyman-sponsored initiative is “a defining moment for our state.”
“Why is the rest of the world focusing on education and innovation? Isn’t that what Washington state should be about?” she asked.
Matt Ryan, former Kitsap County commissioner, said the initiative would impose needed fiscal responsibility.
“Maybe it will make us rethink the way we do education,” he said. “Maybe we need charter schools like we have Back East.”
(Washington voters have three times voted against allowing charter schools in the state.)
According to the wording on the ballot, I-1033 “would limit growth of certain state, county and city revenue to annual inflation and population growth, not including voter-approved revenue increases. Revenue collected above the limit would reduce property tax levies.”
Rogers said that small cities like hers have already made significant budget cuts and don’t have any more non-essentials to trim.
She said the initiative would not cut out “faceless bureaucrats” but would eliminate those who perform essential services like snowplow drivers and police officers. That is why police and firefighter unions are opposing the initiative, she said.
Ryan said he hoped the initiative would give “a little bit of spine” to legislators or local governments when negotiating with unions.
“Every dollar of expenditure by government requires a dollar of taxes,” he said.
The other statewide issue on the ballot is Referendum 71, sometimes called the “everything but marriage” law. A yes vote would affirm SB 5688, a bill passed by the Legislature that gives legal protections for lesbian and gay couples and seniors who are in committed relationships.
The Rev. Elizabeth Stevens, pastor at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bremerton, spoke in favor of R-71.
“For me it’s fundamentally about families,” she said, detailing the situation of nontraditional families in her congregation. “It’s about wanting to take responsibility for those we love.”
Robert Struble, representing the Knights of Columbus — a Catholic fraternal organization — and Protect Marriage Washington, quoted scripture numerous times.
“It is folly to take sin and elevate it to the level of a civil right,” he said.
Marriage, as defined as a union between one man and one woman, has served us well through the centuries, he added, and making any changes in that tradition would be harmful to society.
Struble also contended that the SB-5688 is simply a stepping stone toward full rights of marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
“We used to talk about upholding God and country,” he said. “Now we’re asking people to choose between God and country.”
Stevens said her God “pulls the entire world toward acceptance.”
“This is fundamentally about the right of people to care for each other,” she said.
Catherine Ahl, president of LWV Kitsap, moderated Wednesday’s forum. The entire two-hour discussion will be broadcast by BKAT several times before the Nov. 3 election. To see the schedule, go to www.bkat.org.

Forum Will Address Ballot Issues

You’ve probably received your ballot by now. Maybe you’re wondering how to vote on the two statewide ballot measures: Initiative 1033 and Referendum 71.
If you would like to learn more about these issues, plan to attend the League of Women Voters of Kitsap’s Ballot Issues Forum on Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon.
The event will be at the Eagles Nest, 1200 NW Fairgrounds Road, near the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.
Speaking in favor of R-71 will be the Rev. Elizabeth Stevens of the Kitsap Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Speaking against will be Robert Struble of the Knights of Columbus.
Speaking in favor of I-1033 will be former Kitsap County Commissioner Matt Ryan. Speaking against will be a speaker from the No On 1033 group.
The speakers will discuss the issues and answer questions. The forum is open to the public, so come and bring your questions on these important ballot measures.
For information on the forum call Ann Smith at 360-871-3993.

Taking a Stand on Ballot Issues

The League of Women Voters never endorses candidates, but it does take positions on issues.
On the two statewide ballot issues in the Nov. 3 election, the League recommends voting yes on Referendum 71 and no on Initiative 1033.
R-71 endorses the so-called “everything but marriage” bill passed by the Legislature earlier this year and signed by the governor. It provides equal rights equivalent to those of married couples to couples the same sex and unmarried senior couples.
I-1033, sponsored by Tim Eyman, would cap the growth of state, county and city general funds at the rate of inflation, plus population growth. Any revenue above the cap would be used to lower property taxes. Revenue increases above the cap would have to be approved by voters.
Here is more detail on the state League’s positions on the ballot issues, plus websites for more information on both sides of each:

Referendum 71

At the biennial State Convention, League members voted to take a YES position on this referendum because of our position opposing discrimination. R-71 asks voters to ratify a bill that was passed in the 2009 Legislature and signed by the Governor. The bill provides equal rights equivalent to those of married couples to couples of the same sex and all unmarried senior couples in many areas including:
Death benefits for partners of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty.
Right to use sick leave to care for a seriously ill partner.
Pension benefits for partners of teachers and other public employees
Right to workers compensation benefits if a partner is killed in the course of employment
Victim’s rights
The League has joined with a coalition to do voter education, voter pamphlet statements and action. For more information, please go to the Yes on R-71 website: www.approvereferendum71.org.

LWV Positions:
League of Women Voters of the United States: “Secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all. Promote social and economic justice…”

League of Women Voters of Washington: “…no person or group should suffer legal, economic or administrative discrimination.” Position in Brief: Action to achieve equal rights for all.

Websites for more information:
Approve = www.approvereferendum71.org
Disapprove = www.protectmarriagewa.com

Initiative 1033

At our August 7, 2009 board meeting, the LWVWA Board agreed to join the No on 1033 coalition. To clarify our position opposing the initiative, the Board made an August email board decision to oppose I-1033. At our regular board meeting on September 11th, we affirmed our opposition to Initiative 1033.

Based on our position regarding fair, open and flexible taxes, the Board believes this initiative is none of these. I-1033 is misleading and complicated. Limiting expenses through a rigid and arbitrary formula based on population growth and inflation, this initiative falls far short of being able to fund even our current levels of health care, education and other basic services. While I-1033 may sound good on the surface, limiting spending in this way will have many unintended consequences.

LWV Positions:
From LWVWA Principles: “…government should maintain an equitable and flexible system of taxation…”
Position In Brief: Action to obtain a balanced tax structure that is fair, adequate, flexible and has a sound economic effect.
The League of Women Voters of Washington believes that flexibility and recognition of changing times and needs is important in tax policy.

Websites for more information:
Pro = www.permanent-offense.org
Con = www.no1033.org