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Category: Taxes


Transportation taxes go down to rare failure on House floor

The number of “yes” votes on the House voting screen ticked upward, then hovered at 49 for a long and dramatic few seconds — but couldn’t get to 50 and the majority needed to pass.

And with that, a transportation revenue package whose centerpiece is a 10.5 cent gas tax increase fell short, a rare defeat on the House floor, where vote counts usually keep doomed proposals from even showing up.

Backers of road projects, mass transit and ferries had taken a leap of faith only to fall short.

One of the supporters, Rep. Marko Liias,

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Seattle’s SR 520 gains in transportation tax proposal

The transportation-tax pie is growing so lawmakers can devote a much bigger slice of it as an insurance policy for a Seattle road project.

The House Transportation Committee took a long-awaited vote today on a phased-in 10-cent gas-tax increase and other charges on drivers, but tacked on an extra three cents at the last minute that would only apply if the state Route 520 project doesn’t have enough funding.

The replacement of the floating bridge over Lake Washington has its funding lined up from past gas tax increases and other sources, including connections between the bridge and the Eastside suburbs.

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Tim Eyman seeks initiative to sunset tax increases after one year

Courts have struck down Tim Eyman’s efforts to make all tax increases go to public votes and to require supermajorities in the Legislature for tax increases to pass. Eyman’s latest offering would try a third way of limiting taxes.

As described by the conservative initiative promoter, his proposal would make three changes:

  • Tax increases passed by the Legislature expire after one year unless renewed. In the meantime, voters would continue to get advisory votes on taxes as they do under current law (passed as part of an Eyman initiative), putting potential public pressure on lawmakers.

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Tax package includes $1.27 billion for 167, 509 & I-5 HOT lanes; assumes new Pierce Transit taxing authority

Updated 2:30 p.m. with more on projects. Updated with timeline for gas tax increases.

House Democrats today called for raising the gas tax by 5 cents this year and then gradually by another 5 cents over at least three years and raising a series of fees to pay for roads, ferries and other spending.

The biggest beneficiary would be the so-called Puget Sound Gateway, at $1.27 billion, the amount sought most recently by backers. The project combines an extension of state Route 167 between Puyallup and the Port of Tacoma with an extension of a similarly unfinished stretch of state

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Here’s DOT’s latest plan for how it would build SR 167, 509 and I-5 toll lanes

Lawmakers are far from agreement on a transportation tax package, but the package’s biggest component is starting to be fleshed out.

Transportation officials and outside groups are coalescing around a scaled back version of SR 167 and SR 509 — possibly with HOT lanes on I-5 between Seattle and Tacoma to help pay for it. The dual project is being called the Puget Sound Gateway.

Here’s our story from today’s paper, and here’s how WSDOT describes it:

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You know that “simple” majority for tax increases the Washington Supreme Court upheld last week? It’s not all that simple

In trying to clarify the intent of the Washington State Constitution regarding the number of votes needed to pass laws, including tax-increases, the members of the state Supreme Court might have misused one of the key phrases in both the decision and one of the dissents.

That is, is a simple majority REALLY what the constitution requires to pass such bills? And was the use of that phrase accurate, especially in that it was used to describe two very different vote requirements – i.e. a majority of those elected to each house AND a majority of those present when a

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Washington State Supreme Court rules unconstitutional initiatives that require two-thirds majority for tax hikes

In a landmark ruling 20 years in the making, the Washington State Supreme Court this morning struck down Initiative 1053 as unconstitutional. The court majority said the constitution controls the majority needed for tax hikes and the constitution requires only a majority of the members of the House and Senate.

That means the only way for backers of the so-called super-majority for tax hikes can achieve that goal is to go through the more-burdensome method of amending the constitution which itself requires a two-thirds vote of both houses and then a majority vote of the people.

“The language and

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Gov. Inslee says a longer life for temporary taxes on businesses, beer do not violate his no-tax pledge

About 24 hours into his new job, Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters today that it would not violate his no-new-taxes pledge if the Legislature chose to extend the 3-year life of temporary taxes on service businesses and beer beyond their June expiration. The new governor’s remarks are sure to stir controversy even though he said several times he was not actually advocating a longer life to tax surcharges on service businesses and beer beyond June 30.

At least he isn’t proposing anything as yet.

What he said when first asked about temporary taxes was:

“So I

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