Prepare for nonbinding tax advisory votes to go away
The nonbinding tax advisory votes that appear on your general election ballot are set to become things of the past.
Driving the news: The Legislature has voted to eliminate the advisory votes, which ask Washington voters to weigh in on statewide tax measures after they have passed.
Why it matters: Supporters of axing the advisory votes said they confuse voters — who might mistake them for an actual referendum that can roll back a law — and make ballots long and unwieldy. Those who argued for keeping the advisory votes said they provide valuable public feedback.
Details: The advisory votes came out of a 2007 ballot measure, I-960, which was sponsored by anti-tax activist Tim Eyman. But the votes have no practical effect.
- The advisory vote process never has had the power to repeal a tax measure.
What they're saying: "These votes only pollute our ballots with anti-tax propaganda specifically designed to instill distrust in government — and they do it on our most fundamental sanctuary of democracy, the ballot," the repeal measure's sponsor, state Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue) said in a news release.
The other side: State Rep. Peter Abbarno (R-Centralia), was one of several lawmakers who objected to lawmakers eliminating the advisory votes without a vote of the people.
- "Advisory votes are an essential part of our process — they are a sacred part of the ballot," Abbarno said during a floor speech last week, calling the votes "an opportunity for families, for seniors to share with us what's on their minds."
What's next: The plan to repeal the tax advisory votes heads to Gov. Jay Inslee, who can choose to let the measure become law or veto it.
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