In addition to a few local incumbents and new challengers vying for political offices on the Nov. 3 general election ballot, there’re several state measures and at least one local county question voters will need to check off.
Spokane County Proposition 1 asks if the number of Spokane County commissioners should be increased from three to five. If approved, new district lines would be drawn, approved and new commissioners elected next year.
Like now, only voters in the commissioners’ districts would cast ballots in the August primary. Offices would be elected countywide in the 2016 general election.
Proponents argue that Spokane County is too large for constituents to be represented with only three commissioners, who are spread thin attending various board and committee meetings. Opponents counter that the costs of paying two new commissioners and their staffs – plus the formation of Liberty Lake and Spokane Valley in recent years – make the move expensive and unnecessary.
Spokane County is the largest in the state to still operate under a three-commissioner system.
Meanwhile, statewide ballot items include:
- Initiative 1366 – This Tim Eyman-originating initiative would require the Legislature to propose a constitutional amendment, to be approved by voters, to require a two-thirds supermajority in both the state House of Representatives and Senate for passage. If the Legislature fails to do so, then the state’s sales tax would be decreased by 1 percent.
- Initiative 1401 – Animal rights’ proponents have forwarded this initiative, which would add new protections to various rare or endangered species of animal. New penalties would also be imposed for selling products made from the animals on the list.
- Advisory Vote 10 – A Legislature-approved new fee on crude oil and petroleum products was passed in 2015, which would raise an estimated $17 million over 10 years for safety improvements to rail corridors. Voters will be asked to confirm the fee, but the results will be nonbinding.
- Advisory Vote 11 – With the Legislature revamping marijuana taxes initially voter-approved through Initiative 502, medical marijuana rules are now aligned with recreational pot. Voters will be asked to OK, but the results will be nonbinding.
- Advisory Vote 12 – The gas tax was raised by the Legislature, which will bring it to 11.9 cents per gallon in July. The $3.7 billion raised I the next decade would pay for new infrastructure and improvements to highways, bridges, etc. Results, yes or no, will be nonbinding.
- Advisory Vote 13 – This deals with the Legislature abolishing a preferential rate for the B&O tax for royalty income from software manufacturing. Also there would be a sales-tax exemption on new Microsoft products. Results will be nonbinding.