March 19, 2010 in City

Washington senators approve tax increases

Narrowly passed plan faces high hurdle in House
By The Spokesman-Review

OLYMPIA — The Senate approved temporary jumps in state sales and business taxes, narrowly passing a tax plan that may not survive the weekend in the House.

Senate Democrats made some changes in the plan they passed during the regular session, which also was gutted in the House. Instead of a three-tenths of 1 percent increase in the sales tax for the next three years, they approved a two-tenths of 1 percent increase for that period.

They approved temporary increases to the business and occupation tax, but also increased the credit for small businesses with sales of less than $72,000.

They also amended the bill to give exemptions from the business tax increases to researchers, nonprofit hospitals and Realtors.

Democrats emphasized that the tax increase was the smallest part of their budget solution, which also includes federal funding and cuts of some $5 billion from the budget they would have carried forward from the last biennium.

Republicans argued those aren’t all real cuts, but reductions in anticipated increases, brought on by overspending in previous years.

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