No big state offices up for grabs this year, so this category leads off with very quietly and ineffectively. What's interesting is not what is on this part of the ballot, but what isn't. In particular, this is the first year I can remember when there hasn't been an initiative, proposed by the citizens, promoted/opposed by special interests, enhanced by signature gatherers, on the ballot.
And that is weird, because in off-years like this one, we tend to see an up-swelling of conservative issues coming up for election. And that's good gaming theory - in the off-years, the regular voters show up, who tend to be older, paler, and more conservative. Your latest tax rebellion or bathroom police bill does better when it is not on the same ticket with more attractive lefty candidates and causes. Yet this year? Nada.
There are three Advisory Measures on the ticket. And by advisory it is just that. This is the wreckage of a previous tax-hating initiative that was declared partially unconstitutional, It still requires the state to check over its shoulder when it passes new taxes (with a broad definition of what is a tax). But by the same token, doesn't require the state to DO anything about the results. So you can vote, but no one cares.
Anyway, Advisory Vote No. 16 (Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1597) raises taxes on commercial fishing licences to help the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Advisory Vote No. 17 (Engrossed House Bill 2163) closes some loopholes and exemption to help the general fund. And Advisory Vote No. 18 (Engrossed House Bill 2242) is actually a big one, which raises property taxes in order to improve our school systems from criminally underfunded up to merely woefully underfunded.
And yet it fails to matter as these votes are purely advisory. They may be used for anti-tax mavens to wave and rant about the will of the people, but it is really just a required stamp at this point. I'd go with MAINTAINED on all of these (since I tend to like fish and wildlife and students and am not a fan of loopholes) but it is, as I said, a bad way to lead off the ballot.