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Washington State Voters Reject Sales Tax Hike, Gambling

Wed Nov 3, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - 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.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting results from Tuesday's election, 39.3 percent of Washington voters supported the measure and 60.7 percent opposed it, according to the Washington secretary of state's Web site.

Proceeds would have been used to pay for smaller classes, early childhood education programs, higher teacher salaries and expanded college enrollment.

Voters also rejected Initiative 892 that would have allowed non-Indian businesses to operate the same type and number of electronic scratch-ticket machines that operate in Indian casinos.

A small part of the proceeds would have been used to address problem gambling and the rest would have gone to offset some of the state's property tax.

With nearly all the precincts tallied, 39.4 percent of voters approved the measure and 60.6 percent rejected it, according to the Web site.

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