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‘Main Street’ group organizes letter to lawmakers from small business owners that favor new state revenues

Post by Brad Shannon / The Olympian on March 25, 2013 at 6:04 pm | No Comments »
March 25, 2013 6:11 pm

Main Street alliance letterAdvocates of an increase in state revenues brought a few small-business owners to the Capitol Monday to ask lawmakers to close tax “loopholes.” Of course leaders of the left-of-center Our Economic Future coalition and Main Street Alliance, who organized the event, couldn’t specify which tax breaks they consider loopholes.

Everyone is apparently waiting for Gov. Jay Inslee to lay out his package of revenue ideas for narrowing the state budget shortfall and meeting the state’s obligations for funding K-12 public schools.

Up to now, the Democratic governor has had trouble putting his finger on tax breaks to repeal. But aides say he may put out his plan Thursday.

The letters – signed by business owners like Consuelo Gomez of Bellevue – were handed to staffers for Inslee and Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom of Medina and given directly to Democratic Rep. Reuven Carlyle of Seattle. Gomez runs a facilities management firm and said all businesses should pay their fair share, which she said corporations are not doing.

The letters say, in part:

As small business owners, we know what it means to invest and take risks in order to make a profit. Our profits are usually invested back into our businesses, our family and our community. We also know the less we invest, the less we grow, and no business can succeed without investments.

A strong economy also relies on investments to sustain and grow. It’s what creates jobs and supports small businesses. Small businesses need investments that fuel consumer demand, not cuts that take money out of the pockets of consumers. We need customers – not cuts!

That’s why we believe it’s time to refocus our political debate on generating revenue to create the investments we need to support small businesses. Investments in our community, like schools and hospitals, education and infrastructure create the customer base that small business owners need.

Carlyle told a few of the activist business owners the House Democrats are taking their concerns “very seriously.”

Gomez took a letter to Tom, who leads a Republican-dominated coalition that has been hostile to tax increases and is her 48th district senator. But she had to settle for giving the letter to an aide, telling him people don’t realize it but many small businesses do support new revenue.

That story line is a bit different than what gets told by the National Federation of Independent Business, which put out a tweet Monday that said:

To be fair, they call for raising OTHER people’s taxes.

Tom wasn’t around but Republican Sen. Michael Baumgartner of Spokane was in the wings. He said Republican and Democratic budget writers in the Senate are still working on a bipartisan spending plan. It might be released this week or not until next week.

Baumgartner said his preference is that the operating budget for 2013015 does not include new revenues – beyond perhaps those provided by the federal government for Medicaid expansion and possibly a self-imposed fee or assessment sought by hospitals that could boost the size of Medicaid match money the state and the hospitals receive.

Stay tuned.

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