A new Stuart Elway poll found that 49 percent of the voters surveyed consider extending existing taxes to be a tax increase.
The survey, commissioned by Washington Realtors, found that 42 percent believe it would not be a tax increase and 9 percent were undecided.
The group paid for the poll after Gov. Jay Inslee recently said he does not consider extending taxes to be a tax increase.
Gov. Chris Gregoire, in her final budget released in December, advocated extending a 0.3 percent increase on 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 in 2013–15 and $565 million in 2015–17. Washington Realtors opposes extending the taxes.
“I do not believe we would be increasing taxes if we extend the existing tax rates in that regard,” Inslee told reporters last month. “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.”
Elway surveyed 512 voters from Jan. 24-31. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.