The Washington State Legislature will convene at noon today (Monday), starting the clock on a 105-day session. This year, with larger Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, the governor is pushing forward with an aggressive agenda – starting with raising taxes. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.
SATTGAST: From fighting climate change, saving killer whales, funding state worker raises and pumping even more money into education, Governor Jay Inslee says tax hikes are needed. The governor’s 54-billion dollar spending plan calls for an additional 3.7 billion dollars in new tax increases, including a capital gains income tax and higher business taxes.
But Auburn Representative Drew Stokesbary, who is the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, says the state is already taking in an additional four-billion dollars due to a strong economy.
STOKESBARY: “It’s really baffling why the majority party wants to insist on continuing to raise taxes. And in fact, revenue collections are going so well that, you know, a lot of folks, myself included, have been talking about maybe it’s time for a tax cut to return some of this surplus back to the taxpayers.”
SATTGAST: House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox of Yelm says the governor’s 22 percent spending increase is excessive. He cautioned tax and spend policies could spell trouble for the state if the economy dips.
WILCOX: “We know that the storm is coming. And rather than growing a reliance on state government even more, I think we should be thinking really hard about dialing into the most important priorities, understanding that within the next few years, we will have another budget crisis.”
SATTGAST: The governor will outline more of his agenda during his State of the State Address on Tuesday. John Sattgast, Olympia