November 2, 2015
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It's election time: ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday

Ballots must be postmarked by tomorrow for this year's general election. There are no statewide candidates on the ballot, but voters still have some important choices to make.

The most prominent statewide initiative is I-1366, a proposal from Tim Eyman that would cut the statewide sales tax if lawmakers do not pass a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds vote to pass tax increases.

In Spokane, Proposition 1 — a so-called workers' bill of rights — would in some cases raise the minimum wage to $17 or more per hour. It would also require employers to have "just cause" to terminate employment, among other new workplace regulations. Local elected officials from both the left and right oppose the measure, The Spokesman-Review reports. In an editorial, the newspaper says Prop 1 "wages war on the economy."

Seattle voters will consider public financing of elections through "democracy vouchers" given to each citizen, which could then be donated to candidates to be spend campaigning. A 10-year, $30 million property tax increase would pay for the voucher system. The Seattle Times has more.

Tacoma's two-part minimum wage measure requires voters to answer both questions: First, should the minimum wage be increased? And second, if the wage is increased, should it go to $12 per hour over the next two years, or immediately jump to $15 an hour this Dec. 4? It's important for voters to answer the second half of the question, even if they voted no on the first half. This can be a bit confusing; to help explain, check out this explainer video.

A legislative race in the 30th District could have major implications on the close balance of power in the state House. Incumbent Rep. Carol Gregory, D-Federal Way, who was appointed to fill an open seat in January, is facing Republican Teri Hickel. If Hickel wins, the Democratic majority in the House would drop to 50-48. The Olympian says "That would mean it would take only one conservative or tax-averse Democrat to cross over and vote with Republicans to block Democratic legislation."

Voters in many cities and counties around the state will also have the chance to weigh in on their local elected leaders, many of whom make day-to-day decisions that have a real impact on communities and employers. The Seattle Times runs down some of the races in the King County area; check your local newspapers for details on races closer to home.

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Two-Part Question

Tacoma's Two-Part Minimum Wage Ballot Is Confusing -- Here's an Explainer

Tacoma voters have an important choice, but the ballot is a little confusing. You'll first answer whether you think the city should increase the minimum wage, then a second question whether the wage should rise to $12 or immediately to $15 if a majority of voters want it to increase.

Here's the important part.

Answer the second question no matter what! It does not mean you're voting for a minimum wage increase.

If you don't pick an option on the second half of the measure, it's like picking the option you don't want.

Click here to watch the full video on the Tacoma-Pierce Chamber's YouTube channel
Millennium Bulk Terminals

Timelines are important

By The Daily News editorial board

When it comes to big projects, timelines are important. Last week we learned the timeline for the Millennium Bulk Terminals' draft environmental impact statement was being pushed back. ...

Why are the goalposts being moved? Because it's a coal project?

Whether you support the Millennium coal project or oppose it, you should be upset with how the State of Washington has treated the timeline for this project.

Cowlitz County needs jobs and the Department of Ecology's poor performance isn't helping.
Click here to read the full editorial in The Daily News
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