Citizens’ Guide to Initiative 1464, to direct taxpayer funding to private political campaigns

By JASON MERCIER  | 
POLICY BRIEF
|
Oct 7, 2016

Download the Citizen’s Guide to Initiative 1464

Key Findings

  • Initiative 1464 repeals the current state ban on directing tax dollars to private political campaigns

  • Initiative 1464 is based on a new law passed by Seattle voters in 2015

  • The tax-funded voucher provisions of the Seattle law, however, do not take effect until 2017, making evaluation of its real-world impact premature

  • According to the state’s Office of Financial Management (OFM), Initiative 1464 would cost approximately $171.5 million over the next six years

  • Unlike most previous ballot measures, Initiative 1464 does provide its own funding source by repealing the nonresident sales tax exemption

  • This sales tax exemption, however, has been recommended for continuation by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) to help Washington’s border communities

  • Funding for Initiative 1464’s requirements will ultimately come out of the general fund, at the expense of funding public education and other state programs. 

Introduction

In November the people of Washington will vote on Initiative 1464. The proposal is based on a new law passed by Seattle voters in 2015. Comprising 23 pages and 37 sections, Initiative 1464 is a very complex proposal covering many aspects of campaign finance, including a proposed repeal of the current ban on directing tax dollars to private political campaigns. Starting in 2018, Initiative 1464 would allow eligible individuals to direct up to three taxpayer-financed $50 contributions (available until public funds are exhausted) to “qualified” political candidates for their political campaigns.

Since the majority of Initiative 1464’s proposed taxpayer spending would be used for the campaign contribution vouchers, this paper focuses primarily on that aspect of the ballot measure. 

Download the Citizen’s Guide to Initiative 1464