Initiative tally | Editorial

Three key initiatives on the ballot this November have had backers spending millions of dollars on media ad campaigns. Here’s our take:

Initiative 1125 | Tolls and highway taxes

Nobody likes tolls and taxes, but if our state is going to have any hope of building highways and moving people, it’s going to take both. Tim Eyman’s initiative would make both nearly impossible. Eyman wants only the Legislature to be able to set tolls. That sounds good — political accountability and all that — but in reality, it would make financing our roads even more expensive. Bonding companies — and bonds are the only real way to build roads — find it overly risky to leave toll-setting to the whims of legislators. As a consequence, they rate such road bonds lower, which means the state has to pay a higher interest rate. That makes the state have to pay more to finance the road projects. That means fewer roads. Tolls are a user fee; only those who use such roads pay a toll. That’s the way it should be. But don’t just take our word on this; transportation experts across the state oppose I-1125. So do business, labor and environmental leaders. Vote “No” on I-1125.

Initiative 1183 | Sale of beer, wine and hard liquor

There are lots of things a state should do. Peddling beer, wine and hard liquor isn’t one of them. Vote “Yes” on this initiative. What, you say, didn’t we already vote “no” on this last year? Yes, but the two measures we had before us last year had flaws. This one is far better.

The state would stop selling spirits and auction off its liquor stores. Additional private liquor stores could open, but only if they meet a size requirement (no, there won’t be liquor for sale at every neighborhood gas station). Another point: while I-1183 gets the state out of the liquor selling business, it continues the state’s enforcement to keep booze out of the hands of our kids. In fact, the initiative doubles the fines for businesses selling alcohol to minors. Vote “Yes” on I-1183.

Initiative 1163 | Training, background checks for long-term health workers

This sounds good: shouldn’t long-term care workers have training to serve elderly and disabled people? And shouldn’t we know if they have a shady past? Sure, but the initiative is misleading. In fact, such training is already required by the state. And background checks are already performed.

Vote “No” on I-1163.

Craig Groshart is the editor of the Bellevue Reporter, a sister paper of the Mercer Island Reporter.


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