Eye On Olympia

Lunchtime reading for you: tax proposal on the way, porn tax dead, and longshot plan would free up money for Spokane's megaproject...

Worthwhile reading on your lunch hour:

-Unions, others are polling on what state tax increases voters would find palatable. From the Tacoma News-Tribune's Joe Turner:

Meanwhile, the shadow legislature of unions and other stakeholders is out their holding "focus groups" in communities. They're trying to figure out how much a tax increase (just a temporary one, I'm sure) the public can stomach, which taxes they would vote to increase or which tax exemptions they would vote to remove, which wholesome programs the money should be spent on to make the taxes more palatable (pay raises for state workers probably won't cut it, but warm, fuzzy stuff for school kids and colleges might) and, of course, how much money the tax increases should raise.

-House Democrats say they may put a tax increase on the ballot.

-Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, who's been hinting at the same thing for months, says that an all-cuts budget doesn't cut it:

I heard today from our community health clinics, who told me that health care for 14,000 people in Spokane would disappear if we move forward with this kind of approach. It’s staggering to think that so many people in our community would no longer have a viable option to receive needed medical care. It’s also a mistake to think that the accounting savings realized from cutting these funds will translate into actual savings.

-State workers are urging tax increases to save their jobs.

-Richard Davis says there is not all-cuts budget:

Even after they take those cuts, however, this will not be an "all cuts budget." Spending on many  education and health care programs will likely be up from the previous biennium. Many employees will receive pay hikes, because so-called "step increases," regular pay hikes for seniority, will continue to take effect. Some jobs will be reclassified so allow promotions. To pay for necessary increases, lower priority programs will get cut. It's a recession. That's to be expected. But there's little rhetorical flair in decrying the "some cuts budget."

-The state teachers' union is running radio ads warning against cutting education.

-Rep. Dan Roach wants to sell the land under the Alaskan Way Viaduct and use the money to help pay for the proposed tunnel that will replace it -- as well as raise hundreds of millions more for other transportation projects. (How much for Spokane's mega-project, the North Spokane Corridor? $200 to $250 million, says Roach. But with Republicans far outnumbered in the legislature, don't start scouting out prime waterfront condo-space under that concrete just yet.)

-and the  proposed state tax on porn is dead.






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