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Spin Control

Posts tagged: House Finance Committee

House panel revises, passes tax hikes

OLYMPIA — Democrats on the House Finance Committee approved a $900 million package of tax increases this morning designed to pay for increases in public school programs. Republicans voted no, saying the state should increase money for schools without raising taxes.

On an 8-5 vote, the committee approved House Bill 2038, which ends some business tax exemptions, shrinks others and extends some taxes passed in 2010 as temporary.But first they pared back some of the increases they originally proposed, dropping new or extended taxes on beer, insurance agents, stevedores and janitors.

Money raised from those tax changes would go into a trust fund to pay for changes in the state's public education system, which the state Supreme Court has said must be improved.

“We have tough, difficult choices,” Chairman Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, said. “We're asking everyone to contribute to our quality of life.”  

But Rep. Terry Nealy, R-Dayton, said the committee was “taking a butcher knife to these businesses, rather than a scalpel. We're picking winners and losers among our businesses.”

He and other Republicans also noted the Senate budget spends an extra $1 billion on public schools without raising taxes.

“We don't need new taxes to balance our budget,” Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, said. “It's the courage to fund education first and say no to some other people that we need.”

Republicans also tried unsuccessfully to add a clause requiring the tax increases to be sent to voters in November. Carlyle argued it was the role of the Legislature to close tax exemptions it has approved over the years that may no longer be working as they were initially intended.

The bill now goes to the House for a vote sometime later this week.

So many taxes, so many comments

Joe Korbuszewski addresses the group protesting a new tax on microbreweries Friday on the Capitol steps.

OLYMPIA – The Legislature looked at raising a wide array of taxes Friday — on beer, gasoline or bottled water, on doctors, lawyers or janitors or on nonresidents who come to Washington to shop.

Some people told legislators it was the right thing to do, either to help schools or protect jobs. Others told them it was the wrong thing to do, because it will hurt businesses and destroy jobs.

Legislators didn't vote Friday on any of the proposals to close exemptions, end special rates, extend surcharges or make temporary taxes permanent. Their fate hinges on upcoming budget negotiations between the House, where the tax increase bills now reside, and the Senate, where a coalition that controls the chamber has vowed not to raise taxes. . .

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Tax hike for medical marijuana blasted

OLYMPIA – Washington will soon have two very different systems for legal marijuana, but a plan to tax medical patients similar to recreational pot users is unfair and unworkable, a legislative committee was told Monday.

The proposal to place higher taxes on medical marijuana did what a long-time cannabis advocate said once was unthinkable. It is turning a normally dysfunctional family of regular marijuana users into “normal citizens, complaining about taxation,” Jeff Gilmore told the House Finance Committee . . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

WA Lege Day 51: Talking taxes. Voting taxes

OLYMPIA — A new tax proposal would place unfair burdens on janitors, cigar sellers, plastic surgeons, candy makers and lawyers, opponents of a House plan said today.

They’d also save vital services for schools, colleges, the poor and the sick, supporters of the proposal said.

They’re a good start, but they need to be bigger, said a third chorus of witnesses as the House Finance Committee held a hearing on the tax package announced less than 24 hours earlier. Click here to see a comparison of the House, Senate and governor’s tax packages.

With some minor adjustments, the committee voted 6-3 to send the proposal to the House for a floor debate, even though the Democrats who plan to vote for it today said it will change before it passes.

“This is not what will pass off the floor of the House,” Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland said.

Republicans, who voted no, said no taxes should be raised at this point: “Our problem is spending, not revenue,” Rep. Cary Condotta, R-East Wenatchee said.”We have a certain amount of revenue to work with…We need to change direction.”

Among Republicans voting no was Rep. Kevin Parker of Spokane.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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