October 20, 2014
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I-1351 leads in the polls despite concerns about $5 billion cost and limited effectiveness

Initiative 1351 would cost Washington taxpayers $5 billion by 2019 and another $2 billion a year after that, according to the state Office of Financial Management.

Despite opposition from top elected officials on both sides of the aisle, the measure is leading in the polls. That could be because, while heavy on mandates, the initiative includes no mention of costs or how it will be paid for. Pollster Stuart Elway said support for the initiative dropped off as voters learned more about it.

"The more attention voters have paid, the less likely they are to support I-1351," Elway said.

Newspaper editorial boards are united in opposing this "cynical" and "destructive" bill, as are lawmakers from across the political spectrum. Rep. Ross Hunter, the top Democratic budget-writer in the state House, said he is opposing the initiative because there is no way to pay for it in a year when the state is already up against billions in costs to comply with the McCleary decision -- another costly education funding mandate. Likewise, The Seattle Times reports that the cost of I-1351 is so high that some organizations which usually advocate for smaller class sizes are withholding support because of concerns that the initiative would suck funds away from more worthy educational priorities.

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Northwest must preserve salmon and hydro dams

By Terry Flores, executive director of Northwest RiverPartners

Last month at Bonneville Dam, an extraordinary coalition of Northwest tribes, government agencies and river users -- including farmers, businesses and utilities -- gathered to celebrate a landmark event for our region's iconic salmon.

This year's return of about 2.3 million salmon and steelhead to the Columbia River Basin shattered the modern-day record for total annual salmon returns -- an abundance we haven't seen since fish counting began at the dam more than 75 years ago.
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