Democrats want you to say “thanks, but no thanks” to signature gatherers outside of grocery stores, at public parks, or anywhere the petition peddlers may camp out this month in hopes of keeping a slew of billionaire-backed conservative initiatives off the ballot.

The party takes Let’s Go Washington’s efforts very seriously—as of December 8 the campaign has collected more than 2.4 million signatures out of their 2.52 million goal across their six proposals. And with billionaire Republican megadonor Brian Heywood drumming up more than $6 million for the campaign, Democrats believe paid signature gatherers could finish the job by their December 18 deadline.

In its “Decline to Sign” efforts, the Democrat opposition has asked anyone who sees a signature gatherer to call their hotline. Adam Glickman, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU 775, which operates the hotline, says callers have reported misleading information from signature gatherers. If the Decline to Sign crew knows where to find the signature gatherers, who may be motivated to lie for a paycheck, then Fuse Executive Director Aaron Ostrom said they can deploy their own people to set the record straight.

Some whiny conservatives online said that reporting the gatherers to the enemy camp suppresses democracy, but with potentially billions of taxpayer dollars on the line, Ostrom said voters are entitled to the truth. 

“Telling the truth about an initiative so people don’t get duped is not interfering with democracy,” Ostrom said. “A billionaire trying to pull a fast one and get giant tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy by buying an initiative—that’s interfering with democracy.”

In the spirit of democracy, here are the six conservative initiatives that signature gatherers REALLY want you to approve.

Carbon Tax

Let’s Go Washington mega failed to get 11 very bad initiatives on the ballot last year, but it seems likely cartoon villain Heywood will get at least one proposal on the 2024 ballot for the small price of $5 million, which is how much the campaign spent on signature gatherers. 

Let’s Go Washington submitted 418,000 signatures for their initiative to repeal the state’s new carbon tax, I-2117. The Secretary of State’s Office has yet to certify the signatures and certainly some will not make the final cut, but the campaign just needs 325,000 to qualify for the ballot. 

The carbon tax requires companies to buy emission allowances in auctions that have raised more than $1.5 billion since the system got off the ground earlier this year. In the coming years, the state will reduce the number of available allowances with the goal of a mostly carbon-free state by 2050. 

Opponents like Heywood and his goons argue that the carbon tax raises gas prices. While proponents of the tax somewhat agree, they counter that gas prices rose for a number of reasons, particularly corporate greed as written in Crosscut earlier this year. 

But as Charles Mudede wrote in The Stranger, what caused the expensive gas prices does not matter and the squabbling cedes ground to the right and legitimizes car culture. He argues oil should be “black gold” again because its extraction and its use cost the planet’s health dearly.

Cutting the carbon tax would not only allow big business to pollute freely, but the repeal would take billions from future clean energy projects all for the sake of drivers saving a few bucks at the pump. 

Long-Term Care

Let’s Go Washington also wants to let anyone opt out of the state’s long-term care insurance program, which went into effect in July. The first-of-its-kind program imposes a .58% tax on Washington residents’ wages and pays for WA Cares, which will provide people with $36,500 for basic necessities as they age. 

The bill already allows some people to opt out, and so far 500,000 have. But, as  Ben Veghte, the director of the WA Cares, told the Seattle Times, giving everyone that option would destabilize the program’s finances. With the option to reject the tax, the people who need the program most—poorer, more vulnerable people—will opt in, but the people who may not need public assistance as they age—those with the most income to contribute—would probably choose not to participate. 

Without the long-term care insurance program, working-class people in need of such care spend down their life savings (if they have any) until they qualify for the state’s Medicaid program. Under that shitty system, the state projected that Medicaid funding would increase from $1.7 billion in 2015 to $4.1 billion by 2030.

Capital Gains

In I-2109, Let’s Go Washington seeks to repeal the state’s capital gains tax. 

The capital gains tax imposes a 7% tax on profits over $250,000 gained from selling stocks and bonds. Despite applying to only a few thousand of the richest people in the state (AKA not you lol), the tax generates a bunch of money. As of June, the State collected $849 million, about three times what the legislature projected, which will pay for early education programs. 

Not only would I-2109 gut early education funding by hundreds of millions, but it would also keep cities and counties from instituting their own capital gains. As Seattle faces a nearly half-a-billion dollar budget shortfall for 2025-2026, the City Council must decide between making huge cuts or generating more revenue. The current council determined that a local expansion to the state’s capital gains tax would be the most viable option to rake in more money for important social programs. They spent a year wringing their hands over it, but chickened out at the last minute because they feared Let’s Go Washington would find the signatures to put their repeal on the ballot. 

If the capital gains initiative so much as makes it to the ballot, it will give the next council, which already opposes taxation even more than the current council, cover to choose sweeping cuts to social services over taxing the rich. 

Income Tax

Every progressive Democrat ever wants to pass a state income tax to set Washington’s extremely regressive tax structure straight. According to the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy, the poorest households in Washington pay 17.1% of their income in state and local taxes, while the richest households pay 3%. 

But Let’s Go Washington does not want to help the little guy who shoulders the crushing burden of regressive taxation. No, Let’s Go Washington looks out for the billionaire class who enjoys a sweet fucking deal on taxes compared to literally every other state in the country.

To be fair, the vast majority of Democrats in the state legislature don’t want to help the little guy either. An income tax long seemed like a shot in the dark since an old 1930s precedent treats income as property, which cannot be taxed progressively. But given the recent ruling on the capital gains tax, courts might be warmer to overturning the pesky precedent.

But if Let’s Go Washington has their way, efforts to pass an income tax would be double fucked, even if the State Democrats suddenly grew spines. 

And Just For Fun…

While most of Let’s Go Washington’s initiatives seek to eliminate taxes and thus gut important social services, the campaign also promotes an initiative to empower cops to chase more cars as well as  a mostly pointless parental notification initiative dubbed the “parents’ bill of rights.”

According to the campaign's website, the vehicle pursuit initiative, I-2113, would remove many restrictions on when cops can chase cars. State legislators already lowered this threshold in the last session after lawmakers restricted car chases in 2021 in an effort to save the lives of innocent bystanders. When the state backtracked in 2023, lawmakers greenlighted high-speed chases when cops have “reasonable suspicion” that someone committed an assault, sexual offense, vehicular assault, an escape, or was driving under the influence. 

The conservative campaign wants to give cops way more power to pursue vehicles by eliminating the language in the law that specifies crimes that warrant pursuit. If cops think someone may have committed a crime—any crime—and the cop and their supervisor think that person poses a greater safety risk than a car chase, the initiative says chase away!

The parental notification initiative, I-2081, would do three things: allow parents to review instruction materials and student records, provide parents notifications for medical services provided by the school, and send a written notice to opt out of comprehensive sexual education. 

The initiative seems somewhat redundant. A spokesperson from the Office of the Superintendent said that “most of the provisions appear to be consistent with existing law,” but the office is reviewing it in more detail. 

Democrats vs. Homophobes, Bootlickers, and Aspiring Billionaires

Ostrom said that Let’s Go Washington likely included the seemingly off-topic initiatives to draw signatures and voter turnout from other segments of the Republican voting bloc besides the wealthy, anti-tax crowd — though there are plenty who fancy themselves temporarily embarrassed future billionaires who hate taxes all the same. 

The vehicle pursuit initiative would bring out the law and order types, which may include moderate Democrats seeing as state Democrats colluded with Republicans to lower the threshold for vehicle pursuits last session. And the parental notification initiative would bring out the Christian, sex-negative voters. Judging by the results of the 2020 attempt to repeal the sex ed bill, that’s about 42% of Washington voters. Then hopefully those voters would sign the other initiatives while they’re at it. 

The more initiatives Let’s Go Washington gets on the ballot, the more the opponents will have to spend on counter-campaigning in 2024. If labor and other progressive powers pour money into fighting the slate of measures, that means less money for progressive candidates in the state legislature, the very people we need to keep electing to fight for more progressive revenue. So yeah, thanks but no thanks!