Out-of-state special interests are at it again. This November, Washington voters will be asked to vote on two initiatives that if passed, would lead to deep cuts to important services like health and long-term care for low income seniors and a quality education for our children and grandchildren.
Initiative 1107, funded by the American Beverage Association, and Initiative 1053, funded largely by out-of-state businesses like BP and big Wall Street banks, will threaten our state budget, cripple state government, and make it harder than ever to recover from the recession.
Times are tough enough already. In response to one of the worst economies in decades, we’ve already cut more than $4.4 billion from the state budget. As a result, 2,600 education jobs were eliminated, 44,000 people lost Basic Health Plan coverage, class sizes are soaring and college tuition has skyrocketed by nearly 30 percent.
Initiatives 1107 and 1053 would only make things worse. Further cuts will seriously harm the things that we value – more cuts in health care means more expensive emergency room use, and more cuts in education hurts our kids for generations to come.
I-1107 would repeal a small – and mostly temporary - targeted tax on non-essential items like candy, soda, bottled water and gum. The national lobby for the big soda companies has already poured more than $14 million into pushing this initiative – the most money in Washington state history. Don’t be fooled by their deceptive campaign, there is no food or grocery tax in Washington.
With the epidemic of childhood obesity growing every day, this small tax could help discourage kids from eating so much candy and soda, while raising some funds to help cover the healthcare costs. Asking people to pay a few cents more for a can of soda is a small price to pay to protect the education and health care services that we all value.
I-1053 would impose a California-style two-thirds (2/3) majority requirement on all tax measures before the state legislature, giving a small minority of lawmakers the power to block balanced proposals to closing Washington’s budget deficit. We’ve all watched as California has suffered devastating cuts in services and record deficits because of the two-thirds requirement – let’s not go down that road.
AARP has joined a growing coalition of advocates opposed to I-1107 and I-1053, including teachers, nurses, the Children’s Alliance, the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, the Washington Association of Churches, the Community Health Network, ElderHealth Northwest, the Elder Care Alliance, the Washington Hospital Association, the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Washington State Public Health Association.
In these tough economic times, we can’t afford to give big, out-of-state special interests control of our state’s future. We hope you’ll agree, and join us in voting “No” on I-1107 and I-1053.
Find more information on I-1107 and I-1053, visit the Washington State Budget and Policy Center website.
“No” on 1107 campaign website
“No” on 1053 campaign website
Washington State Budget and Policy Center