Gov. Jay Inslee, during his first news conference as governor, said he’s open to extending temporary taxes due to expire next year as a way to pay for education or help balance the state budget.
Inslee while campaigning for governor vowed not to increase taxes if elected. On Thursday, he said that extending a business and occupation tax and a beer tax would not break his promise.
“I do not believe we would be increasing taxes if we extend the existing tax rates in that regard,” he told reporters. “The reason I believe that is it’s true.
“We would not be increasing taxes for consumers in that regard. That’s something that as an economics major at the University of Washington is pretty clear to me and I think people will come to understand that over time.”
Inslee stressed he’s not advocating for the taxes to be extended, but wants to leave it on the table for lawmakers to consider.
Gov. Chris Gregoire in her final budget released in December advocated extending a 0.3 percent increase to the business and occupation tax paid by doctors, lawyers, accountants and others and a 50-cent-per-gallon tax on beer. The taxes are due to expire next summer.
Gregoire proposed extending both taxes by three and a half years. Keeping in place certain exemptions, the tax extensions would yield $636 million 2013–15 and $565 million in 2015–17.