Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With less than a week left in the legislative session, taxes are getting a lot of attention in Olympia.
- Create a new capital gains income tax.
- Impose a business and occupation (B&O) surcharge on the income from various services.
- Create a new progressive real estate excise tax.
- Change the nonresidential retail sales tax exemption to an annual remittance.
The proposals, if signed into law, would increase taxes by $4.5 billion over four years. Our current revenue is more than sufficient to fund our shared priorities, and I believe we can pass a budget without more tax increases.
I have included two charts in this email update. The first one shows the historical increase of our state spending in our operating budgets. State spending has increased 70 percent since the governor took office in 2013. That is simply not sustainable.
Despite record state tax collections and a budget surplus, the majority party believes new or increased taxes are needed. That is not the case. Again, we have enough money to fund our state's budget priorities.
About 80 percent of economists believe a downturn in the economy is coming. We must budget responsibly. Otherwise, we end up repeating history and we will be back in a Great Recession situation like 2007, when painful cuts had to be made.
As session winds down, I am hopeful a final budget can be reached that is fiscally responsible, sustainable and does not rely on the hardworking taxpayers to foot more of the bill.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.