Insurance and electric car advisory votes on the ballot deserve confirmation by the people.
THE Legislature made two financial decisions during 2016 that citizens should maintain with advisory votes on the November ballot. One continues sales-tax exemptions for some alternative-fuel vehicles, and the other would extend the insurance-premium tax to family dental plans, which are being sold on the state health-care exchange for the first time.
The sales-tax exemption referenced in Advisory Vote 15, based on SESHB 2778, applies to electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids with a fair market value of $35,000 or less that are capable of traveling at least 30 miles using only battery power. The exemption is expected to cost the state about $2 million by 2021. Tax exemptions like this are good for both the environment and the economy and should be embraced by Washington voters.
The dental-plan-premium tax is an extension of the way the state pays to run the Washington Healthplanfinder exchange. Insurance companies already pay 2 percent of each premium for insurance sold on the health exchange. Advisory Vote 14, based on HB 2768, would expand the tax program to include family dental insurance, which will be new on the exchange when open enrollment begins Nov. 1. This change in the law is mostly a technical fix, since all other insurance sold on the exchange is charged the same fee.
Tax advisory votes let the voters tell the Legislature whether they think they should repeal or keep revenue-generating bills that lawmakers passed this year. The vote is nonbinding, which means the Legislature can decide to do something or not based on the results. The advisory-vote idea comes from Initiative 960, which was passed in 2007. It said any new taxes passed by lawmakers automatically trigger a tax-advisory vote in the next general election.
Go ahead and give the Legislature a vote of confidence on these measures.