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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web: spokesman.com/topics/local-history

Fri., Jan. 14, 2011

From our archives, 50 years ago

There’s nothing novel about a state budget crisis. In 1961, Gov. Albert Rosellini delivered a dire budget warning to the Washington state Legislature.

“You have two choices,” he told the legislators. “You can balance the budget without any new taxes. Or, you can meet the requirements of education and balance the budget by increasing revenue. While the final choice is yours, I prefer the latter course.”

The state’s budget problem had some familiar-sounding causes: A period of economic recession, combined with the mounting costs of education.

Rosellini suggested that one solution would be to extend the state sales tax to services, which would mean a 4 percent tax on doctor’s bills, dentist’s bills, accountant’s bills and similar services. Another solution, he said, would be to pass a state income tax. However, getting the votes for a state income tax was widely considered – then, as now – to be nearly impossible.

Many legislators from both parties were already on record as saying that new taxes were “out of the question.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1784: The United States ratified a peace treaty with England, ending the Revolutionary War.



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