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Public Policy

Critique of Spokane Proposition 4

Ian Scott on Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 5:25:53 pm

Last month we posted about Spokane's Proposition 4, also know as the "Community Bill of Rights."  This collection of 9 amendments to the city charter would confer city residents the right to a locally-based economy, affordable housing, affordable health care, renewable energy, and  prevailing wages and apprenticeships.  And that's just 5 of the 9 amendments!  This 1,135 word proposal would impact everything from land use to labor relations in Spokane.

The Proposition's text is extremely (perhaps intentionally) vague, and it includes no discussion of how to pay for the rights that it would guarantee

Proposition 4 also opens the door to massive litigation by stating: "Residents, workers, neighborhoods, neighborhood councils, and the City of Spokane shall have the right to enforce the Community Bill of Rights."

This week the Washington Policy Center released Citizens' Guide to Proposition 4, a straightforward critique of the Community Bill of Rights proposal.  Their key finding were:

  • The Community Bill of Rights will expand government entitlement programs, not individual rights.
  • Taxpayers could be on the hook to pay for proposed programs that have no funding mechanism in place.
  • The broad policy agenda is not affordable under the cities current budget.
  • The measure will likely face scrutiny in the courts under the state's "single subject law."

Download Citizens Guide to Spokane Prop 4

Because of the scope and potential impact of this proposal, and the probability that it could become contagious, you owe it to your community to follow what's happening in Spokane.  Check out my post from Aug 30 - Spokane "Neighborhood Bill of Rights" - for links and more information.

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