Initiative 732 shows just how taxing the ballot can be

Initiative 732 shows just how taxing the ballot can be

We have about 300 words, give or take, to devote to these weekly surveys. What better forum to address a complex tax policy question?

Among the barrage of measures on your November ballot is Initiative 732, which would make Washington the first U.S. state with a carbon tax. In exchange for taxes on fossil fuels, it would lower the state sales tax by 1 percent, give low-income people a tax credit and nearly eliminate the business and occupation tax.

Advocates say it’s revenue-neutral, but the state fiscal impact statement says it’ll reduce revenues by $797 million over six years. For card-carrying, blue-state Americans who want to do something about climate change, it seems right to punish carbon polluters, but environmental groups are split over whether it’s the best approach.

In our latest non-scientific poll at HeraldNet.com, we asked which way you’re leaning. Forty-two percent said they’re voting yes, 33 percent no, and 25 percent said they need to study it.

Unfortunately, we all know that the extent of most voters’ studying will consist of the 50-word title on the ballot. Really ambitious voters might even read the 75-word summary, or even the 539-word explanatory statement.

And the thing is, you can spend seconds reading the ballot title or hours doing research and still not know which side is right. The same goes for several other ballot measures voters are being asked to decide.

So here’s a crazy idea: Instead of sending complicated questions to voters, what if we elected people who could study these issues and make informed choices for us? We could divide the state into districts and send these people (let’s call them representatives) from each part of the state to a nice, neutral location – Olympia, for example. There, they could have an honest debate about the issues, stand up for the best interests of their constituents and make bold leadership decisions.

You’re right. It’ll never work.

— Doug Parry, parryracer@gmail.com; @parryracer

From one nightmare to another. Creepy clowns are popping up across the country as some kind of weird fright phenomenon. So, we felt compelled to find out what some unfortunate soul wearing a clown costume for work should be prepared for if you cross their path.

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