Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week, the House of Representatives voted 51-47 to pass legislation (Senate Bill 6130) overturning the voter-approved Taxpayer Protection Act (Initiative 960) which required a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to raise taxes. Thank you to all who have contacted me these last few weeks about Senate Bill 6130, Initiative 960, the budget and taxes in general. Despite a lengthy list of procedural motions, parliamentary rules and prolonged floor debate, we were unable to kill this proposal. For that, I am truly sorry to the folks back home and to the taxpayers of this state.
As I said during my floor speech against this proposal (which you can see by visiting my website ), the folks in my district sent me to Olympia with two main goals in mind: 1) protect jobs 2) protect the taxpayers.
Businesses and taxpayers will be hurt with this legislation. Instead of trying to bring true reform to our budget process, instead of focusing on sustainability and efficiency, we're taking the easy way out by dipping further into taxpayers' pockets. I know so many struggling families and small businesses owners back home who are going to be seriously hurt by ANY type of tax increase. It pains me to think of the ramifications for our families, our employers and our local economies.
By making it easier to raise taxes, legislators are setting the state for even larger tax increases next year. Our current budget hole is $2.8 billion. But again, because we're not changing the way the state does business, our budget deficit for the 2011-13 biennium is estimated to be as high $5 or $6 billion! With the Taxpayer Protection Act suspended for two years, legislators will be able to impose massive tax increases with a simple majority vote. These type of actions are setting us on a perpetual course of state budget deficits will continue to drive businesses and jobs out of Washington state.
Speaking of tax increases, here is a quick summary of tax legislation proposed in the House of Representatives this year:
- 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 gas 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. And the Governor has now put forth her preferred list of taxes to raise – many of which will hurt employers in Eastern Washington leading to more layoffs in a region where we already have some of the highest unemployment rates in the state.
I look forward to seeing you soon. And thanks for your continued support.