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Posts tagged: sales tax

Sales tax collections up

OLYMPIA – Taxes collected from all retail sales grew by 5 percent in Washington last year, the biggest jump from one year to the next since the recession began in 2008.

Figures released Thursday by the state Department of Revenue showed that taxes from retail sales, which make up nearly half of the $109 billion in taxable sales, rose about 5.3 percent. Mike Gowrylow, a department spokesman, said the drop in consumer-driven retail sales tax revenue bottomed out in 2011 and showed increases in all quarters of 2012. But “it’s not like a big boom,” he added.

Total sales were still well below the nearly $119 billion collected in 2007.

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WA Lege SpecSess: Who’ll blink on the sales tax?

OLYMPIA – A special legislative session to address the state’s budget problems will continue until one side or the other blinks on the sales tax.

On one side: A majority of Democrats who control the Senate want to increase the sales tax as part of their plan to raise about $800 million in taxes as a balanced plan to close a projected $2.8 billion budget gap.

On the other side: A majority of Democrats who control the House of Representatives, and Gov. Chris Gregoire, who want to raise that money with other taxes.

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Early sales tax numbers show continued rough times for local governments

 Early numbers aren’t looking good for Spokane and other local governments hoping to avoid more budget gloom.

Sales tax distributions for the first two months of 2010 were the lowest since 2005 for Spokane, Spokane County, Spokane Valley and the Spokane Transit Authority.

Because of the increased cost of doing business, largely from of salary increases and the spiking costs of health insurance, local governments usually need rising tax revenue to maintain services with the same number of employees.

Sales taxes are only one source of revenue, but they are a signficant one, especially for STA, which doesn’t have property or utility taxes.

WA Lege Day 32: Tie sales tax to unemployment rate?

OLYMPIA – A proposal to raise the state sales tax by 1 cent on the dollar, and tie it to high levels of unemployment, was introduced Thursday in the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane and one of the House Bill 3183’s 15 co-sponsors, calls it “an interesting concept”, even while conceding the sales tax is “a terrible revenue source.”

“I’m not crazy about the sales tax. But it’s one of the very few options available to the state,” he said.

The bill would raise the state’s share of the sales tax by 1 percent starting June 30, with 80 percent going to the state’s general fund, and most of the rest being set aside for roads and bridges. It would keep that extra penny per dollar in place until the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 percent for four straight months. The other half-cent would come off after the unemployment rate dropped to 5 percent.

Minutes after the bill was introduced, the Washington Policy Center, a conservative organization, was warning the sales tax could be in place for a long time. The state’s current unemployment rate is 9.5 percent and a tax increase of this magnitude could cost the state thousands more jobs, said Jason Mercier of the policy center.

Ormsby said the bill was introduced in the hope of getting a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee and generating discussion: “I’ll be interested to see what kind of reaction is out there.”

There is no similar proposal in the Senate. Gov. Chris Gregoire has said she’d consider any options the Legislature sent her, but has not called for a sales tax increase.

No May election in Spokane County

Spokane County voters will be asked to extend a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax for criminal justice programs in the August primary rather than May. County commissioners, who had scheduled a May special election last month, rescheduled it for two reasons on Tuesday: to save money, and to stay legal.


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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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