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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Olympia

Trying to find a combination that will work…

House Democrats continued to tweak their budget recipe Monday, rushing to try to find a palatable mix of budget cuts and new taxes.
Dead is last week’s proposal to boost the state sales tax from 6.5 percent to 6.7 percent. That idea – which would have raised $350 million over two years – collapsed when several Democrats balked. Democrats hold 52 of the 98 House seats.
"The sales tax is gone. We don’t have the votes for that," said Rep. Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam.
It doesn’t help that Democratic unity in the house was bloodied Friday night in a battle over a proposed third runway at SeaTac airport. One lawmaker was in tears, another quit his leadership post.
So what now? Democrats say they’re looking at smaller taxes, mostly discretionary items. That fits with their other tax proposals, which target booze, candy and gum. A key player in all this: Spokane Democratic Rep. Jeff Gombosky, who heads the House tax committee.
Republicans, many of whom are backing a no-new taxes plan proposed weeks ago by the Senate, are happy to wait.
"Obviously, someone in there is having some consternation, saying `I don’t want to be a tax-and-spend liberal and you’re not going to make me,’" said Rep. Brad Benson, R-Spokane. "It is nice to see they’re having trouble getting 50 votes to raise taxes."

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.