Tension excalates as voters reject sales tax

Voters in Washington state rejected both a sales tax increase for education and expanded gambling off Indian reservations that would have cut property taxes, according to election results on Wednesday. Initiative 884 would have raised the statewide retail sales tax to 7.5 percent from 6.5 percent and generated a projected $1 billion annually for an education trust fund, informs Reuters.

According to The News Tribune, in early returns, voters appeared to reject Initiative 884, which would have raised the state sales tax to generate $1 billion for schools and colleges.

Also trailing was Referendum 55, which would have launched a charter schools experiment in Washington.

I-884 supporters were not conceding defeat Tuesday night as returns came in.

"We think there’s still a lot more votes to count," said Natalie Reber, spokeswoman for the I-884 campaign.

The initiative would have raised the sales tax from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent. The $1 billion raised would have bolstered education programs from preschool through college.

Voters' rejection of I-884 was a slam on a tax, not a repudiation of education.

In another vote, on Referendum 55, voters made clear they like the public schools they have. Suburbanites in particular consider the public school the center of the community. They don't want charter schools to undermine regular public schools. This third public vote should put the charter question to rest after seven years of debate, reports The Seattle Times.

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