Instead of funding our schools, the initiative gives $285 million in taxpayer dollars to political campaigns over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, the state is in contempt of court for failing to adequately fund public education and faces a $100,000 per day fine.
RAISES TAXES AND HURTS OUR ECONOMY
The initiative hurts Washington state small businesses by raising at least $285,000,000 in taxes on their customers over the next ten years. The initiative repeals the sales tax exemption for out-of-state residents hurting border communities and businesses reliant on shoppers crossing state lines. In 2011, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) recommended keeping the out-of-state sales tax exemption because of its importance to the Washington economy.
BENEFITS POLITICIANS AND POLITICAL CONSULTANTS
The initiative was originally co-sponsored by a Republican political consultant who will benefit financially from the $285 million in taxpayer dollars that may be spent on political campaigns over the next 10 years. The initiative even allows a politician to pay themselves for “lost wages” using public funds. What it all means: taxpayer dollars would be used to pay politicians to run for office.
TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO PAY FOR POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS
The initiative injects $285 million in taxpayer funds into the pockets of politicians and political operatives over the next 10 years. The initiative puts up to $45 million in taxpayer dollars into legislative campaigns in 2018. By comparison, legislative candidates raised $26.8 million in private contributions in 2014, with an additional $7.5 million spent in independent expenditures. This initiative could more than double the total amount of money spent in legislative campaigns. And, by 2020, the initiative increases the funding to $60 million. Over the next 10 years, the initiative will inject $285 million in taxpayer dollars for politicians and political consultants to use on negative ads and mudslinging.
CREATES AN UNEQUAL PLAYING FIELD
It makes sense to try to level the playing field, but this measure does the opposite. The voucher system it creates is completely optional. Wealthy candidates or those funded by wealthy special interests can simply opt out and out-raise their opponents, while special interest independent expenditure campaigns, which have no limits whatsoever, will have a field day under this system.
FUNDED BY BILLIONAIRES AND OUT-OF-STATE SPECIAL INTERESTS
Billionaires and groups based in Massachusetts and Washington, DC have seeded the measure with over $1.8 million to tilt our state’s election rules in their favor. By capping the amounts that candidates can raise through public financing, these donors will be able to exert greater influence through independent expenditures. The largest financial backer of this initiative has already spent $750,000 on independent expenditures to influence legislative races this year. Two out-of-state groups that hypocritically don’t disclose their contributors to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission have also contributed a combined $675,000 to fund the initiative so far.
RESTRICTS SMALL BUSINESSES BUT EXEMPTS UNIONS
Initiative 1464 exempts union members from the definition of public contractors, creating an uneven playing field. The initiative provides a specific exemption to unions from the restrictions on public contractors. This gives unions a political advantage over their bargaining partners and political opponents. Thus far in 2016, union controlled PACs have raised $6.7 million from their members. By contrast, groups that could be classified as public contractors have raised $1.5 million. The proponents assert that this exemption is fair because it allows employees of public contractors to still contribute.However, groups controlled by the employees of public contractors have raised $0 this year. Voting NO on 1433 will ensure unions and businesses abide by the same rules.
ALLOWS NON-CITIZENS TO SPEND TAXPAYER DOLLARS ON CAMPAIGNS
The initiative allows people living in Washington who are non-citizens to contribute taxpayer dollars to politicians, even though they can’t legally vote.
A MORE POLARIZED LEGISLATURE
Academic studies show taxpayer-funded campaigns make state legislatures more polarized and partisan. Harvard University Professor Andrew Hall found that “public financing produces more polarization and candidate divergence – not less.”
DOES NOT INCREASE DISCLOSURE OR PROVIDE GREATER TRANSPARENCY
State law already requires full online disclosure for the funders of political ads and lobbyists. The Public Disclosure Commission website allows users to search for and download for this information.
The attempt to reveal dark money sources will only hide and confuse the true identity of political advertising. Donors multiple steps removed from a contribution may now be listed as the funder for advertising that they never approved or sanctioned about candidates they may have an opposite position on, or on advertising for groups with whom they do not identify or align. For example, Comcast may write a check to their industry group, the Broadband Communications PAC who may write a check to the House Democrats’ Truman Fund. The Truman Fund may in turn write a contribution to Fuse Washington, a liberal group that provides communication strategies. Fuse Washington, which has actively attacked Comcast, would then be required to list Comcast as a top contributor to their group even though they have nothing in common.
HURTS MINORITY SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
The state actively works to hire small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities. This measure would deny many of these small businesses their voice and right to participate fully in state elections because they would be restricted from contributing to candidates for state office. Meanwhile, the initiative provides exemptions for corporate lobbyists.