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Tag: Don Brunell


Labor-business-environmental coalition sends letters to Inslee and Legislature asking for ‘down payment’ on $50 billion in transportation needs

The loose coalition of business, labor and environmental groups trying to develop a unified approach to passing a transportation tax package in the Legislature this year has sent formal letters to Gov. Jay Inslee and legislative leaders asking for action. The letters went out today and are signed by several of the groups cited in our Sunday story – linked here.

The letters – copies of which are linked here for those going to Inslee and House Speaker Frank Chopp - ask for a package that makes “a significant down payment on the $50 billion need identified

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Rep. Carlyle says he wants lawmakers to hold ‘courageous’ discussion of tax breaks in new Finance Committee

House Democrats reconstituted a revenue committee this year, breaking the House Ways and Means Committee in half – leaving House Finance and House Appropriations. Rep. Reuven Carlyle, a Seattle Democrat, is chairing the Finance operation and says he wants to set the table for a broader discussion of the tax system and how special favors in the tax code could be repealed if they are not producing a clear public benefit.

With the Senate caught in turmoil and narrowly led by an anti-tax coalition of 23 Republicans and two Democrats, Carlyle knows the change for any big tax changes may be slim. He says he first wants the House to help find ways to pay for the nearly $1.3 billion or $1.4 billion that some lawmakers think is needed to answer the Supreme Court’s ruling about underfunded K-12 schools.

“The House wants to be thought leaders in terms of helping to design a responsible budget and funding it,” Carlyle said in an interview last week, noting that the Senate goes first on the budget this year. “Funding the budget is job one. Job 2 is to put ‘McCleary’ (the court’s K-12 school funding challenge) on the table. … We defined basic education and we have to fund it.’’

The third piece of Carlyle’s agenda is a more systematic and longer-term look at tax breaks in the code, which are worth billions of dollars a year (some are popular, like the one exempting food and prescription drugs from the sales tax; others that let high-tech companies get credits for research-and-development spending are less so).

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