The oh-so-liberal left in Washington state has found yet another way to abuse their citizens. This time, however, the people are fighting back. Recently, voters approved a property tax increase, and Seattle officials created a program that provides homeowners with vouchers used to fund city council candidates as well as the city attorney:
Eligible Seattle residents receive $100 in Democracy Vouchers to support candidate(s) in the City of Seattle elections. The Democracy Voucher Program aims to encourage more Seattle residents to donate to campaigns and/or run for elected positions themselves.
City dwellers can choose any qualified candidate to receive their vouchers. However, some residents are fighting back, and have hired Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) to represent their case. According to the attorneys, the voucher program forces residents to fund candidates and ideals that they may not wish to support.
“That money comes from a forced property levy – from property owners who may not necessarily agree with the viewpoints of the candidates that they are being forced to essentially contribute to through this campaign funding program,” PLF attorney Ethan Blevins explained in a press release. “We believe that that violates your right not to sponsor viewpoints you disagree with, which is a right that the Supreme Court has consistently recognized under the First Amendment.”
The property levy began as a citizen-led initiative in 2015 called “Honest Elections Seattle (I-122),” which altered the way Seattle candidates’ campaigns are funded. One of the more significant changes is the Democracy Vouchers Program, but the initiative also reformed limits for campaign contributions for contractors and lobbyists.
While the left and the uninformed might not understand the potential impact of this initiative, it is a disturbing program that can have dramatic effects on political results. For one thing, it dramatically limits who can receive and use the vouchers. Renters and other non-homeowners do not qualify and therefore cannot throw their financial support to their favorite candidates with tax dollars.
As some of the residents have complained, the voucher program collects funds from the property tax, which means everyone who owns real property in the city pays into it, whether they wish to participate or are considered qualifying homeowners or not. It also means their taxes are being spent by other residents to fund causes they may be against morally or politically. The vouchers tip the scale because they represent funding that many candidates would likely have never received without the program.
Unfortunately, a superior court judge ruled that the program was not a First Amendment violation, and upheld the voucher program. PLF is appealing, and arguments are expected to be heard in 2018. Let us hope the appeal will be supported, or else we just might find this kind of program spreading throughout our nation. Just think about the abortion issue, for example. Under this plan, your taxes – your hard-earned money – could be going to fund pro-abortion candidates regardless of how you feel about it, and there wouldn’t be anything you could do to stop it.