Voters across Washington saying yes to revenue for essential public services in 2017 local elections

Election Postmortem

This morning, serial public disclosure law violator and disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman sent out an email claiming that the outcomes of this year’s crop of I-960 mandated advisory votes push polls show that Washington voters are in an anti-tax mood.

“Voters last night had the right to vote on this year’s crop of tax increases. And they rejected all of them,” Eyman wrote.

Actually, they didn’t reject any of them — because none of Eyman’s push polls are legally binding. The outcomes of the push polls are completely meaningless and lawmakers are free to ignore them as they have in the past. The questions voters saw on their ballots were designed by Eyman to prompt voters to vote a certain way, which makes the results totally worthless for the purposes of measuring public opinion.

What is legally binding, though, are the results in the 45th Legislative District, where Democratic Senator-elect Manka Dhingra has about a ten point lead over her Republican rival Jinyoung Lee Englund.

Dhingra is winning having been attacked by Republicans as a tax and spend librul for months. Dhingra’s victory will put an end to Republican management of the state Senate and open the door for consideration of sorely needed progressive ideas.

Republicans — including Eyman — tried to set the stage for a Jinyoung Englund win by launching a “Manka Means Taxes” campaign that encompassed mailers, robocalls, and even yard signs. Tim Eyman soft-launched the campaign in a series of late spring emails in which he harshly denounced the Democratic candidate.

“Manka Dhingra, is just another income-tax-loving, car-tab-gouging, Sound Transit Seattle Democrat,” sneered Eyman in one of the emails, sent on May 31st, previewing what would become a common refrain in forthcoming Republican-financed ads.

But the ads backfired spectacularly. Dhingra went on to win easily in the August Top Two election. Leading up to the general election, Republicans proceeded to spend millions of dollars more attacking her, but Dhingra once again has a comfortable lead over Englund.

Also legally binding are the results of dozens of local propositions in communities across Washington State. Returns for these ballot measures show voters want to invest in Washington’s future.

In community after community, voters are saying yes to proposals to increase revenue, sustain revenue, or authorize bonds to pay for essential public services.

For example:

  • In King County, a proposal to renew and expand the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy is overwhelmingly passing, with a yes vote of 66.06%, despite a call by KVI talk show hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur for its rejection.
  • In Kitsap County, a proposal to raise funds for maintenance and operations of the Kitsap Regional Library system (which includes nine locations) has the support of 62.64% of voters participating so far. In a press release issued back in July, library trustees explained they submitted the property tax levy request to voters because Tim Eyman’s I-747 has been slowly starving the library system of money.
  • In Clallam County, voters are approving (59.69% yes vote) a proposal to raise the sales tax to fund juvenile justice services. “Juvenile Justice’s responsibilities have expanded in recent years beyond simply managing truancy and incarceration for juveniles,” noted proponents in their voter’s pamphlet statement. “Its staff treats mental health, drug and alcohol problems; arranges for employment training and education; manages a teen court, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Child in Need of Services and community-service diversion projects.”
  • In Mukilteo, where Tim Eyman lives, voters are currently saying yes (52.68%) to a proposal to increase the sales tax to invest in street, sidewalk, trails and bicycle improvement projects identified in the City of Mukilteo Transportation Improvement Program. “We can’t afford to delay because investing now in our streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes will prevent big bills later,” proponents argued. Eyman was the sole author of the opposition statement in the voter’s pamphlet, but his arguments are being rejected by a majority of his neighbors who have weighed in so far.
  • In nearby Mountlake Terrace, voters are backing a proposal to authorize bonds pledged to property tax revenue to construct a new city hall and expand the police station by a two-to-one margin (67.07% in favor).

In addition, a large plethora of levies and levy lid lifts to fund public safety are doing well, with only few exceptions.

The threshold for passage for some of these propositions is a 60% yes vote and a minimum turnout of 40% of the jurisdiction’s electorate.

Below is a list of public safety levy propositions currently receiving at least a majority vote of support in key counties throughout Washington State. To pass, a levy must meet any supermajority or minimum turnout requirements applicable to it upon certification of the election, which will take place on November 28th for this cycle. Note that most levies on this list are currently receiving a YES vote well in excess of 60%.

In King County:

  • YES vote for Vashon Island Fire And Rescue Proposition No. 1 Authorizing Restoration of Previous Property Tax Levy Rate: 64.87%
  • YES vote for King County Fire Protection District 20 Proposition No. 1 Levy of General Tax for Maintenance and Operations: 68.88%
  • YES vote for King County Fire Protection District 43 Proposition No. 1 Authorizing Restoration of Previous Property Tax Levy Rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of Assessed Valuation: 57.16%

In Pierce County:

  • YES vote for DuPont Proposition No. 1 Renewal of Six-Year Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Levy: 83.53%
  • YES vote for South Prairie Proposition No. 1 Property Tax Levy Proposition for Emergency Medical Services (Reauthorizing the Previously Existing Levy): 76.60%
  • YES vote for Pierce Fire Protection District No. 5 Proposition No. 1 Six-Year Levy Lid Lift: 61.64%
  • YES vote for Fire Protection District No. 18 Proposition No. 1 Excess Property Tax Levy for Maintenance and Operation Expenses: 65.42%
  • YES vote for Fire Protection District No. 21 Proposition No. 1 Six-Year Levy Lid Lift: 55.13%

In Snohomish County:

  • YES vote for Snohomish Fire District 10 Proposition No. 1 – Emergency Medical Services Property Tax Levy: 70.26%
  • YES vote for Fire District 17 Proposition No. 1 – Lid Lift Restoring EMS Property Tax Levy: 66.49%
  • YES vote for Fire District 25 Proposition No. 1 – Re-Authorizing of Regular Property Tax Levy: 70.80%
  • YES vote for Lake Stevens Fire Proposition No. 1 – Lid Lift Restoring EMS Property Tax Levy: 63.81%
  • YES vote for Bothell Urban Emergency Medical Services District Proposition No. 1 – Emergency Medical Services Tax Equalization Levy: 66.99%

In Spokane County:

  • YES vote for Town of Spangle Proposition No. 1 Fire Protection Service Excess Levy: 85.37%
  • YES vote for Town of Spangle Proposition No. 2 Police Protection Service Excess Levy: 82.50%

In Clark County:

  • YES vote for Washougal Proposition No. 7 Emergency Medical Services Regular Property Tax Levy: 66.90%
  • YES vote for Clark Fire Protection District No. 3 Proposition No. 2 Proposition Authorizing the Restoration of Existing Property Tax Levies: 61.54%

In Yakima County:

  • YES vote for Yakima Fire District #6 Proposition No. 1 Property Tax Levy for Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services: 72.02%

“Not every revenue request submitted to voters in this election is passing,” noted Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve. “But most of the levies we tallied are presently enjoying strong support.”

“The initial results of this election underscore that Washingtonians of all political stripes agree with the idea that we are stronger when we pool our resources… an idea that has served us well since statehood. By working together as taxpayers, we can afford infrastructure and services that enhance our communities’ quality of life.”

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