OLYMPIA, Wash. – Now that gay marriage has passed, it’s back to the budget and taxes for Washington lawmakers. The 60-day session is more than halfway over. Next week will bring the February revenue forecast. Then majority Democrats plan to roll out a budget and possible tax hikes.
Gay marriage has overshadowed just about everything else in the Washington legislature. Legislative offices were deluged with calls and emails. The floor votes emotional and historic. Now though attention will shift back to the state’s $1 billion shortfall and the question of whether Democrats will ask voters to raise taxes. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown says the governor’s proposed half-penny sales tax increase is still the leading contender.
Lisa Brown: “I haven’t seen any other proposal that has more support.”
A sales tax hike appeals to majority Democrats because it’s quick cash. But it’s also hits the poor harder. Speaker of the House Frank Chopp says he’s open to a proposed state capital gains tax.
Frank Chopp: “There’s a general consensus that our tax system is not fair to everybody and those with a lot more money ought to pay a bigger share.”
Minority Republicans remain steadfast that taxes are not the solution. They’re also wary of proposals to borrow against future tax revenues to save current services.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network