Friends and Neighbors,
I want to thank those of you who were able to join me, Rep. Richard DeBolt and Sen. John Braun for our 20th District telephone town hall. At one point, we had 845 citizens from across the district on the line and a total of 4,800 over the course of the evening. We had a great time discussing the 2013 legislative session and taking questions from constituents. I'm looking forward to the next time we can take advantage of this technology to reach out to thousands of residents in our area.
During the telephone town hall, we asked participants a couple of survey questions. Here are the results:
1) Do you support the two-thirds legislative vote requirement to raise taxes?
YES = 80%
NO = 9%
NOT SURE = 2%
DEPENDS ON THE TAX = 9%
2) House Democrats have proposed a 10-cent increase in the state gas tax. Would you be willing to pay 10 cents more per gallon to help pay for transportation projects in this state?
YES = 12%
NO = 81%
NOT SURE = 6%
Gov. Inslee's budget breaks campaign promise
Six months ago, gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee was finally cornered by the Seattle Times about what he would do about taxes if he were elected governor:
“I would veto anything that heads the wrong direction and the wrong direction is new taxes in the state of Washington.” – Jay Inslee, Seattle Times, Oct. 12, 2012
Last week, his budget proposal included over $1.2 billion in new and increased taxes. He apparently thinks that eliminating certain tax incentives on small businesses and other employers shouldn't qualify as “new taxes.” I wonder if the barber, beauty shop owner, janitor, music teacher or veterinarian who will have their taxes go up because of Gov. Inslee's proposals would feel the same?
Even Democrat Treasurer Jim McIntire thinks employers are taxed too much in our state. Here's what he said to the Association of Washington Business last week (click here to read the entire article):
“You don't often hear a Democrat say we over-tax business, but we do. I want to be really clear that it's a problem in the state.” – Jim McIntire, State Treasurer, March 21, 2013
Here's a quick snapshot of Gov. Inslee's tax proposals:
MAKING 'TEMPORARY' TAXES PERMANENT
- 50-cent beer tax, and expanding it to microbreweries ($127 million)
- 0.3 percent B&O tax on service businesses ($534 million), including:
- barbers and beauty shop owners
- music teachers
- real estate agents
- school bus operators
Remember, adding 0.3 percent to the 1.5 percent tax is a 20 percent tax increase!
- vehicle trade-ins when purchasing a new car: $94.8 million
- computer software: $78.5 million
- most state businesses that were given lower rates in order to locate or expand in Washington: $66.2 million
- non-residents who shop in Washington stores: $63.7 million
- bottled water: $51.5 million (previously repealed by voters in 2010)
- recycled fuel environmental programs at Washington's oil fuel producers: $40.8 million
- resellers of prescription medications: $29 million
- long-term rental of commercial land/buildings: $27.8 million
- import commerce: $24.1 million
- farm equipment: $5.6 million
I firmly believe we can and should balance the budget without raising taxes. The most recent economic and revenue update for Washington state shows we have a fragile economy. Raising taxes only leads to uncertainty for employers thinking of locating or expanding in Washington. Getting Washington working not only increases tax collections, it helps struggling individuals and families. A working Washington means prosperity for families and a government that helps young people succeed, supports healthy commerce, protects people from crime, helps the vulnerable and is accountable to its taxpayers.
What do you think? Do you think repealing a tax incentive for employers is the same as increasing taxes? Click here to let me know.
I expect to see the House Democrat budget proposal soon – possibly next week. Then the real negotiations will begin.
The public backlash over the House Democrats' proposed 10-cent increase to the state gas tax has been deafening. We've seen poll numbers of 80-90 percent AGAINST raising the gas tax. It's hard to sell the public on the need for higher gas taxes when so much money is wasted by a transportation system in desperate need of reform. This week, the House released a transportation budget that does NOT include a gas tax increase. You can read a summary of the budget here.
When contacted by the media on the transportation budget, here's the quote I've been giving them:
“I have been very pleased with Chair Clibborn's willingness to listen to ideas from our side of the aisle,” said Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama), ranking member on the committee. “Republicans on the committee identified proposals to better streamline projects and hold WSDOT accountable and a number of our ideas have been incorporated. We will continue to work to improve this budget, but a no new taxes budget is the right approach.”
Also, as the ranking member on the House Transportation Committee, I will continue my work to either stop the CRC or turn it into a project that will allow current users to continue to move product down river, strip light rail from the project, seek alternate routes that actually reduce congestion in the corridor, and seeks federal funding for the construction of general purpose lanes. I have expressed concerns over this project for many years, offered ideas to the CRC and have signed onto Rep. Liz Pike's House Bill 2025 to do what I have described above
I'll keep you up to speed as best I can these next few weeks as budgets become finalized and legislation is sent to the governor. Thanks again for reading my e-newsletter and for staying involved. It is an honor to serve you in Olympia.