Chandler, Taylor say massive tax package backhands taxpayers

 

As the April 13 deadline for the Legislature's 30-day special session drew closer, Democrats in the House of Representatives Saturday passed a nearly $800 million tax package – the largest one-year increase in state history. Fifteenth District Reps. Bruce Chandler and David Taylor voted against the proposal, which they said is unnecessary, lacks vision and ignores economic realities.

“This package will hurt our economy and further erode the public's confidence in state government,” said Chandler, R-Granger. “The Legislature should have worked to position Washington to be a leading economic force in the West. Instead, it has added to the burden on struggling working families in an effort to protect state bureaucracy.”

“Budget-writing is tough, and hard, painful decisions have to be made. But the key is restraint and a respect for the taxpayers' money,” added Taylor, R-Moxee. “The majority party abandoned responsible budgeting in favor of brute force. This isn't just a back-handed slap to taxpayers, it's a round-house right.”

Although the package does not include a general hike in the sales tax, the plan would increase business taxes and add new taxes on beer, soda pop, candy, bottled water and tobacco products.

“This is the wrong approach at the wrong time. When families face hard times, they must make sacrifices and hard decisions about their personal finances. This package shows a disregard for the financial challenges facing families and job providers at a time when Washington's families and businesses are trying to hang on, to survive,” said Chandler.

“The Legislature missed an opportunity to prioritize spending, make government more efficient, and place a higher priority on fiscal responsibility,” said Taylor. “The citizens of Washington have made clear that they want and expect state government to live within its means. This package just turns a cold shoulder to the voters' concerns.”

New and increased taxes approved by House Democrats amount to $794 million in just the first year alone. This amounts to a $1.7 billion tax increase for the 2011-13 biennium. The tax increases include:

  • service employers, like hair stylists and dentists = $242 million;
  • direct sellers like Mary Kay and Avon = $155 million;
  • cigarettes ($1 per pack)  and other tobacco products =  $101 million;
  • 50-cent per gallon (28-cents per six pack) tax increase on beer = $59 million;
  • applying the sales tax on bottled water = $32.6 million;
  • applying the sales tax on candy and gum = $30.5 million;
  • applying a 2-cent per 12-ounce soda tax = $33.5 million;
  • certain canned meat products = $4.1 million; and
  • PUD electric bills, which directly affects Clark PUD = $1.2 million.

The tax package (Senate Bill 6143) narrowly cleared the House 52-44 and will now be considered by the Senate.

The 2010 regular legislative session ended March 11. Gov. Gregoire called the Legislature into a special legislative session so majority Democrats could finalize their operating budget and tax increase proposals. The 30-day special legislative session is scheduled to end at midnight, April 13.

For more information, contact: Bill Taylor, Senior Information Officer: (360) 786-7074

Sarah Lamb, public information officer: (360) 786-7720

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov