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Budget has good news for Narrows bridge commuters

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Feb. 28, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
February 28, 2012 4:41 pm

While Senate Democrats’ budget does raise some new revenue by targeting tax breaks on wind energy and big banks, it reduces state tax collections in other areas, including new tax credits for movie producers and other industries — and delaying sales-tax payments by the Tacoma Narrows bridge.

When the second Narrows bridge was built in 2007, lawmakers allowed it to hold off paying sales taxes on construction for five years.

That bill comes due in December, with the bridge scheduled to pay $5.8 million a year for 10 years. That’s part of what’s driving the need for an increase in toll rates on the bridge.

“I don’t want to see tolls go up any sooner or any greater than is absolutely necessary,” said Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor.

Kilmer proposes delaying the tax payments another six years. The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved his bill Monday.

With Senate Democratic leaders’ stamp of approval on the delay, Kilmer may have leaped the toughest hurdle. The House has been supportive in the past, Kilmer said.

The delay would cost $4.4 million in the current two-year budget period.
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