In a classic example of the importance of local activism, a Socialism experiment funded by Leftists is now unlikely to appear on the general election ballot in Olympia this fall.
The Freedom Foundation has a 25-year history as the state’s foremost grassroots taxpayer advocacy organization. When the union-funded champions of Socialism, the Economic Opportunity Institute, decided to experiment on Olympians by trying to get one of their pet ideas on the ballot, the Freedom Foundation’s citizen activists were key to blocking them.
The Seattle-based Economic Opportunity Institute’s donors and personnel created an initiative to take money from a few wealthy individuals in Olympia and to give it to government-run colleges to cover costs of tuition for Olympia youth.
Freedom Foundation’s Amber Gunn wrote an opinion editorial for the Olympian newspaper raising the alarm about this unfair and unconstitutional policy.
Government unions tapped their members to help fund the effort to gather signatures.
Once the petition was offered to the Olympia City Council, however, Freedom Foundation members in the area wrote to their city council, spoke at the hearing and wrote letters to the editor.
City councilmembers, who were tentatively in favor of the opportunity to lead the state in wealth redistribution, ultimately decided instead to ask the court to prevent the proposal from being placed on the ballot.
The Freedom Foundation legal team then filed a brief noting the ways the proposal violated constitutional protections intended to protect taxpayers from this kind of selective persecution. Of course, the union-funded campaign has argued “(the) Freedom Foundation’s amicus brief should be rejected.”
On Aug. 24, Thurston County Superior Court ruled the initiative extends beyond the city’s powers and conflicts with the state law that bans income taxes, and will prevent it from appearing on the ballot.
Of course, the income tax advocates will seek an emergency appeal, but the likelihood of success is waning.
The Freedom Foundation members’ action coupled with our great legal team has demonstrated that local activism works – even in Olympia, a city considerably to the Left of most of Washington.