After an election, I think it is interesting to see which issues or candidates actually persuaded voters to care enough to vote one way or another.
This year, with all ballots not yet counted, the Secretary of State's office is predicting very high turn out for a midterm election, and record amounts of money were spent on multiple initiatives. Which state-wide races proved (so far) to be of most interest to voters?
Here's why it's important:
It's clear from yesterday's defeat of I-1098 and approval of I-1107 and I-1053 that Washington voters do not want to be taxed more.
Just in time for the election, yesterday 60 Minutes ran a segment on taxing the rich and Initiative 1098. The Seattle Times' Politics Northwest blog called it "a general overview of the campaign here, in the context of the national debate over increasing taxes on the rich." (And they provide a link to the video.)
The chart below compares job growth since 1990 in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Employment is seasonally adjusted and indexed so that in each case the January 1990 value is equal to 100.
An article in the Wall Street Journal today is worth reading. It's about what is going on with the Washington ballot initiatives:
So look past the billionaires. At issue on this Washington ballot is how government is to respond when it is spending more money than it takes in.
We have posted a brief on Initiatives 1100 and 1105, either of which would end the state's liquor monopoly. This brief is available here.
Here is an update of Chart 2 from the brief, extended through March 2009, the most recent date for which employment in Seattle is available.
We have posted briefs on Initiatives 1082 and 1107. "Initiative 1107: A Response to Last Minute Tax Increases" in available here, while "Initiative 1082: A Choice for Industrial Insurance" is available here.
In a New York Times op-ed over the weekend, the economist Greg Mankiw, using himself as an example, illustrates how higher taxes on the rich incentivize them to work less, thereby providing fewer services to the non-rich. The article is a response to the general idea of increasing taxes on the wealthy, in light of the current debate on extending the Bush tax cuts. It is also applicable to the debate on I-1098 here in Washington. (Our policy brief on I-1098 is available