Rep. Gary Alexander, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, says Gov. Chris Gregoire’s latest budget proposals that call for tax hikes are as good as “dead on arrival.” Republican Sen. Andy Hill, who hopes to take over the Senate Ways and Means Committee in January, said he also sees little chance of passing taxes, and Hill notes incoming Gov. Jay Inslee had said during his campaign he would veto tax increases.
Gregoire’s draft plans seek to extend current taxes on hospitals, service businesses, and beer sales, and add new taxes to soda pop, junk food and candy, repeal a tax break on fuels that benefits refineries and raise a wholesale fuel tax to pay for pupil transportation in public schools.
All told she raises more than $1 billion in revenues, and she suggests the junk food tax be dedicated to paying for new pay raises for homecare workers, who recently won an arbitration award on the pay issue – which is worth $134 million from the general fund and potentially $300 million or more from all funds.
Gregoire also assumes that if Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act, which authorizes point of sale collections of tax on online transactions, that $383 million would go into the state general fund for K-12 schools in the 2013-15 biennium. More than $700 would be earmarked that way for 2017-19 as the state’s collection of the tax improves, state budget director Stan Marshburn says.
Alexander’s statement, linked here, is as follows:
Here’s Hill’s statement (and his position is key because tax increases need two-thirds votes and the GOP’s coalition represents more than half the Senate’s votes at this point):