House Republican budget leaders appalled as House Democrats pass largest tax increase in state history

'This tax package is ill advised, unnecessary, and will cost jobs,' says Orcutt

The Washington State House of Representatives today passed legislation amounting to the largest one-year tax package in state history.

The $800 million in tax increases includes increases and new additions to the state's complex business and occupation tax, hitting employers especially hard at a time when most are struggling to stay in business and keep current workers employed during the recession.

Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama and ranking Republican on the House Finance Committee, again reiterated his stance that these tax increases are a financial hit that “our families, our employers and our state economy cannot afford.”

“This tax package is ill advised, unnecessary, and will cost jobs,” said Orcutt.  “Our families can't afford this.  Our employers can't afford this.  Our laid off workers certainly can't afford this.  By increasing taxes instead of making true government reforms and reducing the size of government, we're placing public-sector jobs in front of private-sector jobs.  This is the wrong approach for Washington.”

Orcutt also questioned the need for continued floor action from both the House and Senate during the special session when Democrat budget writers still seem to have no agreement on which taxes to raise.

“House and Senate budget writers started the day miles apart,” Orcutt said.  “With today's action, they're not really any closer to a solution, yet they're worlds apart from what the public wants, which is for government to live within its means.

“We don't need to raise taxes to protect our communities and our citizens,” Orcutt continued.  “We don't need to raise taxes to provide health care.  We don't need to raise taxes to help our senior citizens.  We don't need to raise taxes to educate our children.  We can do that in our budget within existing revenues – all we need to do is put them as the priorities for funding that they deserve to be.”

Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia and ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, reminded House members about the path the budget has taken over the last five years.

“We're here because over the last five years, spending increased at a rate twice as fast as the revenues coming in,” Alexander said.  “We wouldn't have had a $9 billion shortfall last year and another $2.7 billion shortfall this year if we'd have kept our spending in line with our revenues, as employers and families across our state have had to do.

“We don't need to increase taxes by one dollar, let alone by $800 million,” Alexander continued.  “We haven't yet embraced true government reform.  We haven't had a serious discussion about reducing the footprint of government.  We haven't defined our priorities.  All we've done is eliminate the Taxpayer Protection Act, raise taxes on struggling employers and families, and punt the problem down the road.  Where's the sustainability in that?  We're going to face another multi-billion budget shortfall next year because of the actions House Democrats have taken today.”

The taxes included in Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 6143 include (dollars in millions):

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The 2010 regular session ended March 11.  Today is the sixth day of a potential 30-day special session called by the governor.

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For more information, contact: Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer, (360) 786-7698.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov