Spin Control

WA Lege Day 54: Talking taxes

OLYMPIA -- Senate Democrats' plans to raise taxes could move to the Senate floor over lunchtime.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee just began a hearing on a revised tax package that has some tweaks in the proposal released last week. Gone is the removal of the exemption for trade-in vehicles. But it still proposes raising the sales tax by three-tenths of a cent per dollar for the next three years. It does place a sales tax on bottled water.

It would raise about $805 million in new tax revenue.

Not included is the idea of offering voters to swap the sales tax increase, and another five-tenths of a cent, for an income tax on individuals making more than $200,000 a year or couples making more than $400,000. That bill got a hearing Thursday, but is separate from the overall tax package.

Some Republicans on the committee are sporting lapel buttons with "A.B.R." which they said stands for "Anything But Reform" -- their complaint that the budget raises taxes but doesn't reform underlying problems with the state's general fund budget.

1:20 p.m. update: Republicans are running a series of amendments to take out individual tax changes, or put them to an advisory vote on the November ballot. All are failing on party-line vote.

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