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Vote "Approved" on Referendum 88
Referendum 88 is a public vote on I-1000, the affirmative action ballot measure signed by nearly 400,000 Washingtonians and approved by the Legislature this spring.
I-1000 would allow affirmative action policies in the areas of public education, public employment, and public contracting. It will restore fairness for veterans, small business owners, women, and people of color seeking to succeed in public employment, contracting, and university admissions – without the use of caps or quotas. Affirmative action, which is legal in 42 other states, will increase business contracts and college enrollment for women and people of color in Washington.
It's long past time to restore affirmative action in Washington. Vote to approve Initiative 1000.
Vote NO on I-976
Initiative 976 is Tim Eyman's latest attempt to cut billions of dollars in funding from badly-needed transportation projects across the state. I-976 would derail our ability to fix dangerous roads, retrofit outdated bridges and overpasses, complete voter-approved light rail, provide transit for riders with disabilities, and more. More than $12 billion would be slashed from state and local projects with no plan for replacing any of the funding.
Every city and county in Washington depends on transportation infrastructure that would be impacted by the cuts from I-976. Vote NO on I-976!
Because of a Tim Eyman initiative, the Legislature is required to submit any bill it passes that closes tax loopholes or raises revenue to a non-binding advisory vote. The Legislature had a historically productive 2019 session, resulting in a record number of advisory votes on the ballot. We hope the Legislature will change the law to remove these meaningless measures in the future.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 20
Washington's senior population has doubled since 1980 and will double again by 2040. Most seniors cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for the long-term medical care they need. A bipartisan group of lawmakers moved to build upon the state's Paid Family and Medical Leave program through Second Substitute House Bill 1087. This legislation created a new long-term insurance benefit that will address the looming crisis of seniors who cannot afford the care they need. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 20.
Vote "Repealed" on Advisory Vote 21
Legislators passed Engrossed Third Substitute House Bill 1324, also known as the Washington Rural Development and Distressed Opportunity Zone Act, that extends a business and occupation tax preference for timber companies. In addition, part of HB 1324 raises a small amount of revenue from timber companies for salmon recovery, which is what led to Advisory Vote 21. While the salmon recovery provision is laudable, HB 1324 will primarily serve as an unnecessary tax cut for timber companies at a time when we need to be investing more in affordable housing, education, health care, and other priorities. Vote “Repealed” on Advisory Vote No. 21.
Vote "Maintained" On Advisory Vote 22
Washington is the latest state to adopt a recycling program for leftover architectural paint. The Legislature passed Substitute House Bill 1652 to add a small recycling fee to the price of paint to fund the program. This law will ensure that hundreds of thousands of gallons of paint will be disposed of responsibly and no longer pollute our environment. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 22.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 23
Manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of vape products have not been paying regular tobacco taxes. The Legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1873 to remedy this and create the Essential Public Health Services Account. Electronic cigarettes, electronic devices, and vape pens will now be classified and taxed as tobacco products. This account will fund health services, tobacco and vape product control and prevention, and enforcement by the state liquor and cannabis board to prevent the sale of vape products to minors. This legislation is even more important after several reports of lung injuries linked to vaping in Washington state as well as hundreds around the country. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 23.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 24
The Legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 2158 to increase funding for higher education, including financial aid, raises for community college faculty, and a student loan program for middle-class students called the Washington College Grant. The Washington College Grant would replace the State Need Grant, which runs out of money every year and leaves thousands of eligible students without any money. The Workforce Education Investment Act is designed so that businesses that benefit the most from a highly-educated workforce will contribute to the cost of higher education. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 24.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 25
Washington's low-income families pay six times more in taxes than the wealthiest residents. To begin to balance our tax code, the Legislature passed Substitute House Bill 2167 to increase the business and occupation tax on financial institutions that reported a net income of $1 billion or more during the previous calendar year. We think it's reasonable for these extremely profitable companies to pay a little more in taxes to support the services working families rely on. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 25.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 26
Washington legislators have moved to update our tax laws in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that forced internet retailers to charge sales tax in all states. Among other things, Substitute Senate Bill 5581 eliminates a tax advantage that out-of-state sellers long enjoyed over local companies. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 26.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 27
Washington state has more than 13,000 known or suspected contaminated sites. The Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) became law in 1989 and has supported efforts to clean up more than 7,000 contaminated sites. The MTCA is funded by a voter-approved tax on hazardous substances such as petroleum products and pesticides. This year, the Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5993 to update the law to improve transparency and increase funding for clean air, clean water, and toxic cleanup programs. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 27.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 28
Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5997 closed a longstanding loophole that allowed many out-of-state shoppers to avoid paying sales tax in Washington. Visitors from states without a sales tax can still request a remittance from the Washington Department of Revenue. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 28.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 29
This legislation is one step towards balancing our upside-down tax code by making Washington's real estate excise taxes (REET) progressive. Instead of a flat rate of 1.28 percent, property sales of less than $500,000 are reduced to a 1.1 percent tax rate, sales between $1.5 and $3 million would be taxed at 2.75 percent, and properties sold for more than $3 million would be taxed at 3 percent. All the funding from Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5998 will be dedicated to the Education Legacy Trust Account. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 29.
Vote "Maintained" for Advisory Vote 30
This legislation eliminates a tax break for travel agents and tour operators for businesses who earn $250,000 or more per year. Businesses that earn less than $250,000 will continue to pay the lower rate. Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6004 will bring more revenue to the state and ensure that large out-of-state and online businesses pay their share. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 30.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 31
This legislation passed Engrossed Senate Bill 6016 to reauthorize and narrow a sales tax exemption for certain international investment management companies. In order to receive the tax exemption, a business must have more than 25 percent of employees in the state, at least 500 full-time employees worldwide, and gross revenue of more than $400 million. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 31.
Vote "Approved" on Senate Joint Resolution 8200
This measure would allow the Legislature to temporarily fill vacant public offices during an emergency by including "catastrophic incidents" like earthquakes or tsunamis in the definition of emergency powers. As Washington has been on high alert for an earthquake for years, legislators want to ensure governmental continuity in the event of massive damage from a natural disaster. While it is not pleasant to think about, Washington state needs to be prepared for a catastrophic event. This measure passed with bipartisan support. Vote "Approved" on Senate Joint Resolution No. 8200.
Helen Wheatley is running for Port Commissioner, District No. 1 for the Port of Olympia. Wheatley is an environmental activist who has advocated for the cleanup of Eastern's Washington's Hanford nuclear site. She currently serves as vice chair of her neighborhood association and was honored in 2018 as Thurston County Democrat of the Year. Wheatley's platform is incredibly progressive and includes protecting public health through pollution cleanup, balancing environmental and economic interests to help the port thrive, and adopting affordable and effective strategies that will ensure Thurston County is ready for the impacts of climate change.
Wheatley's opponent, Joe Downing, is running for re-election. His platform acknowledges the need to reduce the carbon footprint of the port and protect the Puget Sound, but it is not as comprehensive or progressive as Wheatley's.
We recommend Helen Wheatley for Port Commissioner, District No. 1.
There are two strong candidates for Mayor of Olympia: incumbent Mayor Cheryl Selby and Olympia City Councilmember Nathaniel Jones. We lean toward Jones because of his strong progressive track record and his support from local advocates.
Nathaniel Jones, a longtime progressive voice on the Olympia City Council, is challenging Mayor Cheryl Selby because he believes she has not been accessible enough to the public. He cites the recent effort to put a camp for the homeless on Martin Way East and to push forward a redevelopment downtown as symbols of Selby moving too fast without including the residents or the council. On the council, Jones has been a solid vote for the environment and ensuring small businesses thrive in a local economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. He pledges as mayor to put people ahead of fossil fuel profits and supports 100 percent clean electricity for Washington. Jones has more support from our progressive partners, especially local labor unions.
Mayor Cheryl Selby is a small business owner who has received endorsements from high-ranking Democrats and Republicans. Selby supports a statewide income tax and touts her role in the economic development of the city, funding for parks, and working with the council to solve the homelessness crisis. Specifically, she supports a homelessness response coordinator and the adoption of the emergency housing ordinance. However, some members of the public and the council say she has not done enough to alleviate the homelessness crisis, pointing to her leading the efforts to defund the Winter Warming Center over the objections of most council members. Selby enjoyed strong support during the primary election.
Jessica Bateman is running for re-election to Olympia City Council, Position 2 with broad support from progressives across Thurston County. Once a legislative aide to Rep. Chris Reykdal, Bateman is now a policy analyst at the state capitol. Bateman has been a tireless progressive advocate on the council, working toward equitable housing solutions, protecting our green space, and ensuring no one is left behind. Accomplishments from her first term include co-chairing the Home Fund, a campaign to provide safe housing and essential services for vulnerable homeless community members, and sponsoring a resolution to make Olympia a sanctuary city.
Bateman is being challenged by Phyllis Booth, the former chair of the 22nd Legislative District Democrats. She is campaigning on more advocacy for the homeless, efficient use of tax dollars, and environmental protections. However, Booth has not been as supportive of expanding affordable housing as Bateman.
Bateman has earned another term on the Olympia City Council in Position 2.
Dani Madrone, a progressive candidate who works for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, is running for Olympia City Council, Position 3, the seat vacated by Nathaniel Jones in his run for mayor. She has served on the boards of the Olympian and the Olympia Food Co-op. Madrone is running to tackle the big issues of homelessness, climate change, affordable housing, and safe neighborhoods with a science-based and community-forward approach. Madrone has earned numerous endorsements from elected officials around Thurston County.
Madrone is running against Matt Goldenberg, a private practice clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at South Puget Sound Community College. He supports tackling homelessness with a housing-first approach, increased healthcare literacy, racial and gender equity, and a $15 minimum wage.
Goldenberg has progressive ideals but Madrone's endorsements from across Thurston County combined with her strong platform make her the best choice Olympia City Council, Position 3.