Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Political Desk: Statewide

So, I'm back from Disney World (and it was a lot of fun, good food, masks in abundance, thanks for asking), and I expect you've all filled out your ballots already and we can get on with book reviews.

Eh? You haven't touched the ballots since I left? Fine. No, no, that's fine. No worries.  Let's just get this over with.

I mean, I understand. This is in many ways not an important election, but also is an important election because all elections are. When the Washington State Election Voters' Pamphlet showed up a couple weeks back, and it was a bit ... anemic, in the words of a friend. All the major statewide offices were up last year, and the only candidate for judge on my ballot (Court of Appeals, Div 11, Dist 1) is running unopposed (This outlet does not endorse in situations where there is only one candidate, but merely offer our congratulations). 

In addition to a sparsity of statewide measures, the ballot leads off with is the lamest of the lame. We have is a trio of dreaded advisory votes, the lasting political legacy of anti-tax grifter and accused chair thief Tim Eyman. You've heard me whinge about advisory votes before - badly worded questions that scare people about tax measures that don't necessarily affect them. Close a loophole? That's a tax measure. Continue a tax? That's a tax measure. Fix a previous measure? Oh yeah, that's a tax measure. 

And it doesn't mean much, other than a push-poll to allow you to growl at Olympia for using your hard-earned dollars for the community good. It is electoral spam. It wants to know if you want to sell your house. It's been trying to get in touch with you about your car's warranty. It claims to be from the Social Security administration, and wants you to know that it will be dispatching officers to your house unless you buy it a gift card. At its most charitable, it is a way of taking the political body's temperature, but not a very good one.

It is so bad that both the Seattle Times and the Stranger agree that it is pretty miserable as a method of trying direct democracy. AND the local progressives have put a web site, stating a lot of what I've been saying for years - that this a waste of time and effort, is used badly, and you should vote Maintained anyway.  

OK, enough kvetching. Here is what they got. 

Advisory Vote No. 36 - Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1477 - A tax on telephone lines to help expand and fund behavioral crisis response and suicide prevention.  Yeah, Vote Maintained.

Advisory Vote No. 37 - Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5096 - A tax on Capital Gains over a quarter of a million bucks. You made over a quarter of a million bucks on Capital Gains? How nice. This is a pin-prick of a tax operating at that level, so naturally it must be stopped. Yeah, vote Maintained.

Advisory Vote No. 38 - Second Substitute Senate Bill 5315 - A tax on captive insurers. What is a captive insurer? It is when a company forms its own insurance company to offer insurance, effectively paying itself for health care without supervision and avoiding taxes that other insurance companies must pay. This closes a loophole in the existing laws, so, naturally, so it must be stopped. And of course, I say vote Maintained.

OK, That's it - more later