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November 9, 2012 at 7:00 AM

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Washington voters sending mixed messages

Difficult understanding of trade-offs

The Seattle Times editorial board pointed out the irony that Washington voters elected a Democratic majority to the Legislature who favor spending on health care andsocial programs, yet approved a two-thirds requirement for raising taxes [“…Unless they know what they’re getting,” Editorials, Nov. 8].

But this is not a surprise. Who doesn't want health care, education and social programs and lower taxes? The problem is that when voters check the box for a tax-limiting initiative, they are not shown the trade-offs on their ballot. With the state facing a $1 billion deficit, which programs should be cut — health care for poor children, prisons, higher education?

A progressive new revenue measure, like a capital-gains tax, would go a long way toward helping our state pay for the services we expect, while not burdening middle-class families. But enacting such a measure is much more difficult in the Tim Eyman era.

— Melanie Mayock, Seattle

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