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The Associated Press July 2, 2010, 4:23PM ET

Wash. state anti-tax campaigns turns in signatures

Two anti-tax initiatives in Washington state moved closer Friday to making the November ballot when supporters turned in petitions with hundreds of thousands of signatures.

State officials were given 330,000 signatures supporting Initiative 1053, which calls for re-establishing the two-thirds vote requirement for the Legislature to pass tax increases, said Tim Eyman, a supporter of the measure.

Lawmakers temporarily suspended that requirement this year in order to pass several taxes intended to help to close the state's $2.8 billion budget deficit.

"Taxpayers desperately need protection from job-killing, family-budget-busting tax increases," Eyman said in an e-mail to supporters after submitting the petitions.

In addition, sponsors of Initiative 1107 to roll back new state taxes on soda, bottled water, candy and some processed meat said they turned in nearly 400,000 signatures.

Tim Martin, president of the Washington Beverage Association, said the state chose the wrong items to tax during tough economic times.

"We're talking about products that everyday families get when they go to the grocery store and load up their carts," he said.

A new beer tax is not targeted by the initiative.

The tax on soda adds 2 cents to the sale of every 12-ounce container but exempts bottlers with $10 million or less in sales volume.

The loss of revenue from the taxes would bring more cuts to state programs, said Jon Gould of the Children's Alliance, which opposes the initiative.

"The choice for us is clear, a few extra pennies or the loss of essential services for kids," he said.

Candy, gum and water is also subject to the state's 6.5 percent sales tax.

Campaigns need a minimum of about 241,000 valid voter signatures to get on the ballot.

The Yes on 1107 campaign has raised more than $2.5 million, with most of that money coming from the Washington, D.C.-based American Beverage Association. The opposition campaign has raised less than $200,000.

Friday is the last day initiative campaigns can turn in petitions. Signatures also were expected for I-1105 to privatize retail liquor sales.

Petition signatures have already been turned in for three other initiatives. I-1082 would allow private workers' compensation insurance. I-1098 calls for an income tax on the state's high earners, and I-1100 is another liquor privatization measure.

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