Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last week, I sent an e-mail asking for your input on attempts here in Olympia to make it easier to raise taxes. Legislation has been introduced (Senate Bill 6130) to overturn voter-approved Initiative 960 which required a two-thirds vote in the Legislature.
I want to thank those of you who responded. Your input is so valuable to me as I represent you in Olympia.
At this time, 170 of you responded AGAINST Senate Bill 6130, with 26 IN FAVOR of the legislation.
I want you to know that I did not vote for this legislation. I don't believe the Legislature has set forth clear and concise priorities in dealing with our (now) $2.8 billion budget hole. My fear is that without leadership, without establishing and defining our priorities, state leaders are setting us on a perpetual course of state budget deficits. We already know that a large deficit looms before us for the 2011-13 biennium. Because legislators are making it easier to raise taxes – and setting the precedent to do so – tax increases will become the norm for future budget holes rather than the rarity.
And speaking of tax increases, here is a quick summary of just the tax legislation proposed in the House of Representatives this year:
Notable tax increase proposals
- A doubling of the “death tax”
- A 1 percent increase in the state sales tax, making Washington's the highest in the nation
- A tax on candy and bottled water
- A state income tax
- A Hazardous Substances Tax (HST) increase which amounts to a 6-cent per gallon tax increase
However, while these are the ones that have garnered the most attention to date, the full list of tax and fee increase proposals is astounding:
- A total of 77 bills proposing tax and fee increases have been introduced thus far, for a total of over $3 billion in new state and local taxes or fees for Fiscal Year 2011.
- These same proposals would amount to over $11 billion in the next biennium! (2011-13)
At this time, we don't know what taxes and fees will be raised. But there are plenty of proposals on the table and now it only takes a simple majority in the Legislature to do so. Already, the governor has proposed new taxes on candy, gum, bottled water, and soda. She also proposes an increase of $1-per-pack on the cigarette tax and a near-tripling of the tax on oil products, for a total tax package of $605 million.
If you have further comments or thoughts on taxes or any other issue, please feel free to let me know. Like I said, your input is always appreciated.