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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.

Late last night, after hours of lengthy debate, the House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 6130.No New Taxes 006

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.


Larry Haler

State Representative Larry Haler, 8th Legislative District
122H Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7986 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000