The Auditor's Offices of Lewis County and Cowlitz County have released a list of upcoming ballot measures to be decided during the Nov. 4 General Election, including multiple state and local issues.
While it will not be until Oct. 17 when ballots are mailed out, many issues are expected to be discussed and debated throughout the election season. Below are some brief summaries of what will be appearing on the ballot, while additional information maybe found at www.sos.wa.gov/elections:
Initiative Measure No. 1351 concerns K-12 education. This measure would direct the legislature to allocate funds to reduce class sizes and increase staffing support for students in all K-12 grades, with additional class-size reductions and staffing increases in high-poverty schools.
Initiative Measure No. 591 concerns firearms. This measure would prohibit government agencies from confiscating guns or other firearms from citizens without due process, or from requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a uniform national standard is required.
Initiative Measure No. 594 concerns background checks for firearm sales and transfers. This measure would apply currently used criminal and public safety background checks by licensed dealers to all firearm sales and transfers, including gun show and online sales, with specific exceptions.
Advisory Vote No. 8
The legislature eliminated, through Senate Bill 6505, without a vote of the people, agricultural excise tax preferences for various aspects of the marijuana industry, costing an estimated $24,903,000 in the first ten years, for government spending.
Advisory Vote No. 9
The legislature imposed, through Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1287, without a vote of the people, the leasehold excise tax on certain leasehold interests in tribal property, costing an estimated $1,298,000 in the first ten years, for government spending.
Annexation into the Timberland Regional Library District
Annexation of the City of Winlock to the Timberland Regional Library District would impose a property tax of $0.415 per $1,000 of assessed value on those within the city limits, similar to a tax imposed on those in unincorporated areas of Lewis County. If annexation were approved, the Winlock Timberland Library would be funded, starting in 2016, through the revenue generated from said property tax, rather than through contributions from the City of Winlock's General Fund. If Annexation were rejected, library services would continue as they currently do, and the city could continue to fund the library.
Lewis County Fire District 15 EMS Levy
A Proposition authorizing the replacement of an expiring regular tax levy to finance Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for six consecutive years. Approval of the levy would replace an existing levy imposing a property tax of $0.25 per $1,000 of assessed value to be dedicated specifically to EMS staffing, equipment and training. The Levy would be imposed beginning next year and would last until the end of 2021. Rejection of the levy would eliminate existing funds for said services, requiring either a reduction in staffing, equipment and training at the fire district or a later attempt at approval of a levy.
Toledo School District 30-year bond
The Board of Directors of Toledo School District No. 237 has adopted Resolution No. 2014-15-05 concerning this proposition for bonds. Approval of the proposition would authorize the issuance of $23,500,000 of general obligation bonds maturing within a maximum of 30 years, and the levy of excess property taxes annually to repay the bonds. Funding from the bonds would be used toward the remodeling and modernizing of Toledo High School, as well as construction, repairs, renovations, student safety and other upgrades to designated schools and facilities throughout the district to extend their useful life. Rejection of the proposition would impact only the above-mentioned projects and may result in a later attempt at approval of a bond.
Cowlitz County Fire District 6 Levy Lid Lift
A Proposition authorizing the increase of an existing levy for the purpose of providing additional staff, training, equipment and administrators, as well as increasing funds for general district operations. Approval of the levy would increase existing property tax rates from $0.44 per $1,000 of assessed value to $1 per $1,000 of assessed value beginning next year and running through 2020. Rejection of the levy would result in the district continuing to operating within its current financial means and may result in a later attempt at approval of a levy increase.