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WA Voters Face a Plethora of Petitions, Choices

June 14, 2010

OLYMPIA, Wash. - More than 70 initiatives have been filed with the Washington Secretary of State's office and, in order to make it onto the primary election ballot in August, their supporters have until July 2 to gather at least 241,153 signatures of registered voters. So, the petition-signing process is in full swing.

In order to cut through the confusion, Aaron Ostrom, executive director of Fuse Washington, says his progressive voters' group came up with a slogan to help members recall the only initiative they've decided to support this year.

"'If it ain't 1098, don't take the bait.' Nearly every other initiative would undermine our communities and our quality of life - and most of them are bankrolled by deep-pocketed corporations that are really focused only on increasing their profits."

Initiative 1098 is the proposal to create a state income tax for people who earn more than $200,000 a year. Ostrom cites Initiative 1107 as a recent addition to the list. It's an attempt to stop the new sales taxes on soft drinks and candy, which the Legislature approved as a way to help address the state budget.

"It's basically the soda and candy industries' attempt to overturn candy and pop taxes. They put $1.3 million into the coffers on this, this month."

Other initiatives would privatize state liquor sales in Washington, remove civil and criminal penalties for adult use of marijuana, and require a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature for any tax or revenue-related bills, to name just a few.

Anyone who asks a person to sign a petition must be able to offer a copy of the initiative, so it can be read first. The information is also available on the Secretary of State's website, at

Of all the initiatives, Ostrom expects only six or seven to get the required amount of signatures within the next three weeks, and he says that's an unusually high number.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA