The Washington State Legislature’s special session is coming to an end and after spending weeks debating which taxes to raise, the House and the Senate have unfortunately put together an $801 million tax increase called the “Go Home Proposal.” 

The Washington Policy Center has posted a summary of taxes included:
  • Three year B&O services tax increase to 1.8% = $245.9 million
  • Three year beer tax increase of 50 cents per gallon = $57.8 million
  • Three year pop tax increase of 2 cents per 12 oz. = $38.10 million
  • Dot foods case = $154.7 million
  • Tobacco products = $101.4 million
  • Business nexus changes = $82.4 million
  • Sales tax on bottled water = $35.3 million
  • Sales tax on candy and gum = $29 million
  • Lottery marketing = $15 million
  • Convention center = $10 million
  • DOR regulatory power increase (Tax avoidance) = $8.2 million
  • Property management B&O = $6.9 million
Democrats approve of these tax hikes arguing that at least it isn’t a hike in general sales tax, but looking over this brief list, these tax increases seem like they would hit the middle class and businesses the hardest. What’s worse is that these taxes are being passed behind taxpayers’ backs. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown has dismissed complaints about the Legislature’s lack of transparency and reported “shady practices. The Democratic Majority has also suspended voter-passed Initiative 960, a measure that requires a 2/3 vote rather than a simple majority.
If for some reason the Legislature cannot deliver a final budget to Governor Gregoire by April 13, the Governor will be required by RCW 43.88.110 (7) to “make across-the-board reductions in allotments for that particular fund or account so as to prevent a cash deficit.” However these across the board spending cuts are looking more and more unlikely as the lawmakers grow more and more apt to borrowing money.
These tax hikes will end up further burdening an overtaxed state. It’s a shame that these Washington tax-hiking legislators can’t just “Go Home” and “Stay Home.”