Washington Capitol

Washington’s 2014-2015 supplemental operating budget passed both houses of the state legislature on Thursday without Democrats or Republicans getting much of what they wanted. In general, it preserved the status quo without tax hikes or tax relief. This was important for small businesses who were threatened with hundreds of millions of dollars in higher taxes.

Democrats proposed tax hikes on everything from oil refineries to online sales, bottled water, and e-cigarettes. 

The 95 percent vapor and e-cigarette tax was particularly troubling because would have slammed state small businesses like vapor shops and convenience stores with more than 38 million in tax hikes annually. Americans for Tax Reform fiercely opposed the measure and it was successfully defeated in the final day of budget negotiations. 

Representative Reuven Carlyle, the Seattle Democrat who proposed the 95 percent tax in the House noted, “There was a very strong, fierce, overwhelming opposition from the Senate.” Having not learned anything from the strong grassroots response to the proposal, Carlyle has promised to bring back the bill next year.

Overall, about $26 million in spending increases were approved for the 2013-2015 budget of $33.6 billion, leaving roughly $900 million in unspent funds. Court-mandated education spending increases will likely continue to be a hot button issue for legislators going into next year with over $2 billion in newly required allocations before 2017. 

Photo Credit: Paul Blair