Voters across the state received their ballots last week. With Election Day just two weeks away, it won’t be long before voters decide the fate of various ballot initiatives—most of which promise to make government bigger by spending even more of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. Here’s our round up of the worst offenders.
1. Seattle’s Initiative 122
A labor front group, inaccurately named “Honest Elections Seattle,” is behind I-122. The initiative allows Seattle candidates to opt into a system where voters can give $100 to candidates they like. Another property tax hike would fund the $100 vouchers. In words, homeowners will fund vouchers to let other people give that money away. The initiative is estimated to cost $30 million over a 10-year period.
Proponents of I-122 have claimed that their intention is to “level the playing field” for participating in the political process. But, that’s not the agenda. In an astonishing level of hypocrisy, rich outsiders are funding I-122. These big-money donors are using the initiative as a test, with Seattle as the entry point to try and push a statewide initiative, all with a national agenda in mind. Ironically, that’s the very definition of rich people buying elections… with a long-term twist.
The true intention of I-122 is to see if the campaign strategy—which heavily favors Democrats—is viable on a larger scale. The first clue into initiative’s hidden agenda is that it contains a loophole for labor unions. Apparently, large special interest groups are free to bundle the vouchers from members and direct large contributions to their preferred candidates. Essentially, I-122 advocates are peddling a snake-oil form of “democracy” meant to further empower the far left.
2. Spokane’s Proposition 1
Spokane’s Proposition 1 seeks to enforce the highest minimum wage in the nation—advocates estimate $17 per hour. Because the proposition does not set an actual minimum wage—rather it would established based on certain rules created by city officials—others estimate it would be more like $20-plus per hour.
The proposition would require Spokane city businesses with 150 or more employees to pay the unspecified hourly “family wage.” According to the Washington Policy Center, if the City of Spokane does not calculate a “family wage,” employers would be required to pay wages of three times the federal poverty level for a family of two, or any family wage previously calculated by the city, whichever is higher.
That outcome could result a minimum wage as high as $28.11 per hour.
Making matters worse, the proposition ensures that businesses will have no right to challenge any part of the law in court. Yet, it allows “any person” to sue the City of Spokane for “failing to comply with Prop.1’s family wage provision.”
Essentially, Spokane’s Proposition 1 promises to do two things: destroy any semblance of a healthy business environment and make the city a lawyers’ paradise.
3. Tacoma’s Proposition 1
Tacoma’s Proposition 1, pushed by labor-funded “$15Now!” activists, seeks to raise the city minimum wage to $15 per hour. If Tacoma voters approve the measure, businesses that gross more than $300,000 per year would have to begin paying a $15 minimum wage immediately. There is absolutely no phase-in period. Additionally, there are no exceptions based on a business’ number of employees.
Interestingly enough, some in big labor have refused to lend support to the proposition. Unions have been concerned that this particular $15 minimum wage proposal is more “sweeping than those in Seattle and SeaTac.” In other words, there are no union exemptions.
Tacoma voters face a competing $12 minimum wage initiative pushed by Mayor Marilyn Strickland.
Tacoma’s Proposition 1 and the competing $12 minimum wage initiative come as more economists are warning that increasing the minimum wage by unprecedented levels—like to $12 or $15 per hour—is a “reckless wager” that would have dire consequences. One study, conducted by the American Action Forum and Manhattan Institute, reveals that “boosting the minimum wage nationwide to $12 or $15 would end up hurting many of the people it aims to help.”
But, for big government supporters, hurting taxpayers is OK as long as the liberal special interests are kept happy.