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Approve ESJR 8212 and ignore advisory ballots

  • 1 min to read

Once again voters in Washington state are asked to approve or a reject a constitutional amendment and advisory measures. This election has far fewer than most years.

We urge voters to approve the constitutional amendment, Engrossed Senate Joint Resolution 8212 .

This measure would allow the state’s Long Term Care Trust Fund to invest in the stock market.

The state constitution generally prohibits state and local government from investing in the stock of private companies.

But voters have previously approved exemptions for any public pension or retirement fund, the industrial insurance trust fund and money held in trust for the benefit of people with developmental disabilities, according to the explanatory statement in the Voters’ Pamphlet written by the state Attorney General’s Office.

The reason is simple. These funds need to grow in value over time so they can meet the needs of those who count on the funds for benefits.

That’s the case here with the investment to grow the Long Term Care Trust Fund. This fund was established by the Legislature last year to provide money for long-term care insurance. Under that law, employees will pay premiums for state-sponsored long-term care benefits through a payroll deduction, beginning January 1, 2022. Benefits will start being paid out in 2025.

The trust will be overseen by an independent commission.

Allowing this type of investment, which will be prudently managed, makes sense.

The measure was approved 45-3 in the Senate and 96-1 in the House. Voters should approve it on Nov. 3.

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The four advisory ballots on the ballot are meaningless and not worthy of your time or attention.

Hardly anybody bothers to look at results of the advisory votes, which focus on new or increased taxes and fees. Why? It doesn’t matter. State lawmakers barely give the results a glance because there is zero political backlash one way or the other.

The mandate for advisory ballots was created through Initiative 960. It was sold as a way to reduce taxes, but hasn’t done anything but increase anxiety and election costs.

Voters look at their ballot, see the advisory vote, and stress over informing themselves to vote to repeal or maintain.

Save yourself the stress and focus on what matters on your ballot, selecting people to serve in the state Legislature, Walla Walla County Board of Commissioners and a host of state and federal offices.