Initiative 1464 seeks to finance political campaigns through “Democracy Credits”

SEATTLE — Seattle’s first-of-its-kind plan to publicly finance campaigns may go statewide if voters approve a new ballot measure this fall.

Initiative 1464 would create “democracy credits”.  They are similar to the “democracy vouchers” Seattleites approved last year, where each city voter gets four $25 vouchers they can give to candidates in local elections.

Here are the main elements of I-1464:

  • Voters would get three $50 “democracy credits” for state races
  • Candidates would have to limit the size of donations they receive
  • Lobbyists would be subject to a 3-year “cooling off” period, if they previously worked as public officials

The expected cost is $60 million for each two-year election cycle.  It would be paid for by repealing the sales-tax exemption now enjoyed by out-of-state residents.

Opponents argue that any extra tax revenue should be devoted to schools, not political campaigns.