Last Friday in the House Finance Committee, the 9-4 Democrat majority voted to approve $4.5 billion in new tax increases. While a final operating budget has yet to be produced, many of the tax increases approved by the committee—and additional tax increases approved this week by the Senate—will be coming to the House floor for a vote before session adjourns Sunday night.
I just sent out the following statement to local and statewide media:
“The brazen determination of the majority party to raise taxes on Washingtonians while shutting them out of the process is nothing short of stunning. Democrats have left no time for taxpayers—who have repeatedly and resoundingly rejected tax increases—to offer public testimony on the budget. That is wrong and shows a fundamental lack of leadership.
“At a time when we have record revenues and a $3 billion surplus, the last thing the Legislature should be doing is raising taxes. Unfortunately, it seems no amount of revenue is ever enough to divert the majority away from their game plan of massive spending hikes and unnecessary tax increases.
“It is also disappointing majority party budget writers have shut Republicans out of the process. This is in stark contrast to what the process has been for developing the capital and transportation budgets, which have routinely passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Allowing us in the room to negotiate two budgets, but not the third, is mystifying. Perhaps the majority simply doesn't want to hear reminders from those of us in the minority that spending is out of control and Washingtonians don't want new or increased taxes.
“Washingtonians and their families deserve better than this. They should be deeply concerned about the direction the majority is taking our state.”
I want to echo that last line: You and your family deserve better than this. Even before you awoke this morning, there was another tax introduced in the Senate that may be approved by the House this weekend.
While those of us in the minority party are fighting hard for you, the majority party ultimately has the power to increase taxes and spending—though it is still unclear at this moment which taxes will be increased to allow for the billions in new spending in the operating budget.
I'll be back with another update next week after we have voted on a final budget. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact me with comments or questions. I would also encourage you to call the legislative hotline (1.800.562.6000) to make your voice heard on the budget, taxes, or any other issues that are on your mind.
It is an honor to serve you.