Democrats in the Senate, as well as the current governor have proposed significant increases in taxes for the coming biennium. This week, the House is also expected to release its proposed budget where tax increases are expected to mirror the Senate’s proposals.
While Washingtonians await the final verdict on what taxes new taxes they will pay, they should keep in mind that the legislature has already passed roughly a half billion dollars in taxes and fees already this session. When calculating your tax increase, be sure to add this figure to the likely $400+ million to take effect in the new revenue package.
Here’s the breakdown on what has been approved by the House thus far:
HB1031: A B&O tax on gambling businesses; a 0.13% B&O tax increase = $763,000
HB 1314 Marriage and divorce fee: A $10 fee on Marriage Licenses and Divorce Petitions = $1.35 Million
HB 1386 Historical documents fee: A $3 recording fee increase = $10.68 Million
HB1484 Local property tax for schools: 75 cents per $1,000 = $443 Million increase if all counties imposed. (This figure is low because it’s based on 2004 Home Assessments, not 2005)
HB 1631 Property tax: 3.75 cents per $1,000 – proposed tax increase = $50.77 Million if all counties imposed - For Conservation Futures
HB 2085 Waste tire cleanup: A $1 fee per tire = $7.58 Million
HB 2163 Ending Homelessness: A $10 recording fee surcharge = $27.24 Million
HB 2259 Utility Tax: Water-sewer districts 6 percent utility tax – Indeterminate*
Total new taxes so far = $539 Million!
Clearly taxpayers have been misled. Overall, Democratic leadership in Olympia has been disappointing at best. The current governor went against her campaign pledge to not raise taxes in the first biennium (blogged about here) and House and Senate democrats have reversed reforms enacted two years ago (like unemployment insurance, found here), placing further strains on our frail economy. Such policies are the equivalent to beating up a kid in a wheelchair on the playground.
I have long thought that raising taxes to pay for over spending is an uncreative way to increase revenue to the government. Instead we should be looking to relieve the tax burden on our state economy to encourage spending.
One of Washington’s greatest revenue tools is our sales tax. Encouraging people to spend the money they have will bring far more back into the state General Fund that lackluster tax hikes.
If we were to cut property tax, and decrease the amount of fees we impose, Washingtonians would have far more capital. I hope to be married soon. Anyone who has been through the wedding process knows that a wedding is an expensive event. With current fees and surcharges imposed on marriage licenses, newlyweds will now pay $50 to get hitched. Lawmakers also want to tax items not previously taxed, (insurance and warranties). These are all costs associated with marriage as well. If we were to cut those fees, I would have far more money to spend on things like boutonnières, a new pair of cufflinks, champagne for a toast, and on and on and on…
We need to cut taxes, encourage consumerism, stay the course, Thousand Points of Light, stay the course…
*Utility Tax Increase (HB 2259) has not been determined and is not reflected in the $539 million tax increase figure. Actual increase can be seen on your utility bill.