NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, October 9th, 2023

Budgeting for Washington’s Future: See what’s replacing Tim Eyman’s push polls in the voter’s pamphlet, starting this year

Thanks to the recent suc­cess of NPI’s leg­is­la­tion to clean up Ever­green State bal­lots and remove a bar­ri­er to vot­ing, Wash­ing­ton vot­ers won’t be see­ing any anti-tax pro­pa­gan­da from for­mer ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman at or near the top of their gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lots when they go to vote this year.

But they will see in a page in the voter’s pam­phlet alert­ing them to the exis­tence of the new fis­cal dash­board cre­at­ed by the Leg­isla­tive Eval­u­a­tion and Account­abil­i­ty Pro­gram (LEAP) and the Office of Finan­cial Management.

Titled Bud­get­ing For Wash­ing­ton’s Future, this page in the voter’s pam­phlet offers a quick response code, URL, and phone num­ber to help vot­ers reach the dash­board. It also con­tains a short sum­ma­ry of each of the state’s three reg­u­lar­ly adopt­ed bud­gets, to help demys­ti­fy the state’s finances for voters.

Take a look:

Bud­get­ing for Wash­ing­ton’s Future page in the 2023 voter’s pamphlet

As you can see, the page con­tains only neu­tral­ly word­ed, fac­tu­al infor­ma­tion. That is by design. When we were devel­op­ing our bill to get rid of Eyman’s “advi­so­ry votes” (which were real­ly push polls), we made a con­scious choice to do more than just get rid of some­thing bad — we want­ed to cre­ate some­thing use­ful as a replace­ment for “advi­so­ry votes” — some­thing that could help voters.

So that’s why Sen­ate Bill 5082, spon­sored by our cham­pi­ons Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Amy Walen, pro­vid­ed for the cre­ation of not just the afore­men­tioned fis­cal dash­board, but this Bud­get­ing For Wash­ing­ton’s Future page in the voter’s pam­phlet. For the fis­cal dash­board to be a use­ful resource, Wash­ing­ton vot­ers need to know about it and know how to find it.

That’s why it’s now a required ele­ment of the state-lev­el voter’s pamphlet.

The idea to pro­vide a one page infos­heet for the dash­board with a QR code was sug­gest­ed by Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs and his staff, and we embraced that idea for the final ver­sion of the leg­is­la­tion, now cod­i­fied as RCW 29A.32.031 (8):

The vot­ers’ pam­phlet pub­lished or dis­trib­uted under RCW 29A.32.010 must contain:


(8) A page pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion about how to access the inter­net pre­sen­ta­tion of the infor­ma­tion cre­at­ed in RCW 44.48.160 about the state bud­gets, includ­ing a uni­form resource loca­tor, a quick response code, and a phone num­ber for the leg­isla­tive infor­ma­tion cen­ter. The uni­form resource loca­tor and quick response codes will lead the vot­er to the inter­net infor­ma­tion required in RCW 44.48.160;

It’s great to see our leg­is­la­tion now ful­ly imple­ment­ed. This was the final piece!

We know from our pub­lic opin­ion research that the voter’s pam­phlet is far and away the most impor­tant and most trust­ed source of infor­ma­tion for vot­ers at elec­tion time. It’s there­fore an ide­al vehi­cle for point­ing vot­ers to the fis­cal dash­board. The bal­lot itself is not an appro­pri­ate place for adver­tis­ing or announce­ments — it’s the sacred space where we make the impor­tant, con­se­quen­tial deci­sions about who rep­re­sents us and what laws we should have.

It took half a decade to get Sen­ate Bill 5082 from the draw­ing board to Gov­er­nor Inslee’s desk for sig­na­ture, but we were per­sis­tent… and per­sis­tence can real­ly pay off! If you appre­ci­ate our research and advo­ca­cy for bet­ter bal­lots and elec­toral jus­tice in the Pacif­ic North­west, we invite you to sup­port the work of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute. Make a dona­tion here (all cred­it card fees will be cov­ered by our proces­sor!) or sign up to give annu­al­ly or month­ly.

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