Court OKs wording for education initiative

OLYMPIA — Ballot language for Initiative 884, the $1 billion education tax plan, was amended and approved by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Pomeroy on Monday.

The ruling clears the way for the League of Education Voters to begin collecting signatures.

League officials say petitions could be distributed as soon as Friday. The group must garner 250,000 valid signatures by July 2 to qualify for the Nov. 2 ballot.

The initiative drive was stalled last week when a coalition of anti-tax groups challenged the ballot language in court.

Heading that effort was the local chapter of the national Citizens for a Sound Economy, which announced yesterday that it was organizing statewide opposition to the initiative, which would increase the sales tax by a penny on the dollar to fund public education.

The new “concise description” now reads: “This measure would create an education trust fund for smaller classes, extended learning programs, certain salary increases, preschool access, and expanded college enrollments and scholarships, funded by increasing retail sales tax by 1%.”