The Republican Initiative Slate on Your Ballot

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Right-wing Republicans are responsible for three hyperpartisan initiatives on the ballot this November. All are sponsored by State Representative and MAGA Republican Party Chair Jim Walsh. And all are bankrolled by conservative Republican hedge fund manager Brian Heywood, who spent more than $6 million on paid signature gatherers to qualify these measures to the legislature. They will now appear on your 2024 ballot after the state Legislature did not act on them during the 2024 legislative session:

  • Initiative I-2109 (I-2109) repeals Washington's current capital gains excise tax on stock market profits greater than $250,000. This tax break for the wealthy will eliminate nearly $900 million in yearly funding for early learning, child care, K-12 education, and school construction.
  • Initiative 2117 (I-2117) repeals the 2021 Climate Commitment Act that protects the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the salmon in our streams. I-2117 eliminates billions in funding for clean energy and transportation, and returns the responsibility of paying for the impacts of pollution to communities and families, rather than the polluters themselves.
  • Initiative 2124 (I-2124) would eliminate long term care coverage for working Washingtonians by bankrupting the WA Cares Fund. This would mean millions of Washingtonians will lose more than $8.1 billion in guaranteed benefits that kick in if they have a debilitating illness, injury, or condition that requires long-term care.

How should I vote on the three initiatives?

You should vote “no” on all three. 

You should vote "no" on I-2109 because all of Washington's kids, no matter their zip code or how much money their parents earn, should have the same access to care and early learning. In its first year, our capital gains tax funded early learning and schools to the tune of nearly $900 million. This education funding has already prevented Washington’s childcare system from collapsing, avoiding the pitfalls that other states are facing. 

The capital gains tax is paid by just 0.2% of Washingtonians, all of whom are extremely wealthy. A new report says this tax is one of the main reasons why Washington no longer has the most regressive tax code in the nation. Some of our state’s wealthiest people have tried to repeal this law (and failed), get it thrown out in court (and failed), and now they’re trying to convince voters to eliminate it so they don’t have to pay.

You should vote "no" on I-2117 because it would prop up big polluters and enable them to continue dumping toxins into our air and water without consequence, while making Washington residents pay for the harm they are causing. I-2117 cuts funding for programs that benefit all Washingtonians - everything from public transit to programs that help prevent wildfires, to rebate programs for energy efficient appliances - and poses a threat to our clean air, clean water, and forests.

You should vote "no" on I-2124 because all Washingtonians should be able to get the care they need, but I-2124 is designed to force Washington's long-term care fund to fail. Like previous efforts to privatize Social Security, I-2124 was intentionally crafted to sound innocuous, but it would effectively bankrupt the long-term care benefit program, according to an analysis done by the Office of the State Actuary. Studies show that 70 percent of us will need help with meals or moving around as we age, but prior to WA Cares few of us had access to funding to pay for such care. If I-2124 passes, Washingtonians will once again only have the option of buying long-term care through expensive private insurers, who regularly deny coverage, and typically only the wealthiest can afford.

What would happen if Initiative 2109 passes?

Washington's kids would lose the $900 million per year that funds child care and early learning programs. A few wealthy people would rather deprive our kids of learning opportunities than pay what they actually owe in taxes. 

Without this funding, child care programs would be cut, school class sizes would balloon, and much-needed repairs and construction of schools would grind to a halt. This will hurt working families who rely on care, students trying to learn in overcrowded classrooms, and rural communities who need overdue upgrades to crumbling school buildings.

What would happen if Initiative 2117 passes?

The Climate Commitment Act (CCA) makes big polluters pay for the harm they cause to our communities. I-2117 would eliminate the CCA and ban Washington from ever creating something similar. 

Without the funds raised by the CCA, the following programs would be terminated, threatened, or reduced:

  • Addressing air pollution in the most impacted neighborhoods 
  • Help for low- and moderate-income families to replace older and dirtier home heating with energy-efficient heat pumps 
  • Weatherization to help families make their homes more energy efficient
  • Free transit for youth
  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Protection of older forests and new forest management to reduce wildfire and its impacts
  • Fixing culverts and other obstructions to migrating fish

The revenue from the Climate Commitment Act is creating good-paying, local jobs like making homes more energy-efficient, and installing heat pumps and solar panels. Ending this program would result in losing many of these good jobs and prevent the creation of more of them. 

What would happen if Initiative I-2124 passes?

Eliminating funding for WA Cares means that millions of people would not be able to access the long term care benefits they require. I-2124 would take away benefits from working people who have earned them by paying into the system.

As we age, 70% of us will wind up needing long-term care — getting help with meals, chores, and daily tasks are all things that help us live in our homes for longer. If this initiative passes, working Washingtonians will no longer have access to an affordable plan guaranteed to provide them with money to pay for home care and other long-term care needs.

Who is behind these initiatives?

One conservative multi-millionaire named Brian Heywood has personally spent more than $6 million bankrolling all of these initiatives in a cynical effort to buy him and his ultra-rich friends multiple tax cuts. He wants to roll back the ways our elected leaders have made life better in Washington in recent years with no care about the damage to our communities he leaves in his wake.

Each of these initiatives is sponsored in the Legislature by one of the most powerful MAGA-Republicans in Olympia. Now the Chair of Washington’s far right Republican Party, Rep. Jim Walsh is once again looking to impose his dangerous and unpopular agenda on all the people of Washington.