Measure could be confused with other initiative

A costly campaign for highway and transit improvements in the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett areas might have unintended effects in Thurston County, where a similarly named "Proposition 1" is on the Nov. 6 ballot.

That is the theory of Judy Wilson, treasurer for the sales-tax proposal in Thurston County known as Prop. 1.

Wilson said she has heard questions from people who said they had heard on the radio that Prop. 1 would double their taxes. But it's Prop. 1 in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties that would raise $18 billion for roads and transit by raising sales taxes and adding $80 per $10,000 in value to car-license fees.

The Thurston County measure would raise about $10 million a year for social intervention and criminal justice programs. It would do that by raising the sales tax 0.3 cents per $1 of sales.

"Part of what is going on right now is we're working very hard at letting people know we have a Prop. 1 on the ballot," Wilson said Tuesday in an interview. "The concern I have is that as people hear this advertising on the radio … they don't know it's Prop. 1 King County and Prop. 1 Thurston County."

Wilson said her campaign will run local radio ads to explain to local voters the need for the local tax. But it doesn't have money to counter the ads in the Seattle-area television or radio markets that the transportation campaigns have planned.

The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that Keep Washington Rolling, the political action committee backing Prop. 1 in the Central Puget Sound area, expects to raise as much as $4 million. It will run an extensive cable television-ad campaign and is sponsoring traffic ad spots.

Transportation-tax opponents who have raised $51,000 have been running radio ads against it, the paper reported.

"I don't think anybody dreamed we'd end up with this kind of a problem, one that you can't do anything about," Wilson said. "That's one that wasn't envisioned, I can tell you that."

Wilson wonders about the fate of the local measure.

"Wouldn't it be the pits to lose this thing because of these ads?" she asked.