You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
May 6, 2013 at 11:28 AM
Democratic State Rep. Reuven Carlyle released a new state analysis showing King County is a large net exporter of tax dollars to the rest of the state.
Carlyle, of Seattle, contends there’s a misconception in the Legislature and elsewhere “that tax dollars are consumed by city living, whether that’s social programs or subsidizing various services more common in the city. The cold hard reality is that the numbers are the complete opposite of that.”
For example, the analysis indicates Yakima County received $649 million in state expenditures in fiscal year 2011, but generated only $346 million in tax revenue. By comparison, King County received $3.4 billion in state general fund expenditures but generated $5.9 billion in tax revenue, according to the report prepared by the state Office of Financial Management.
Those numbers comes from a composite analysis on page 4 of the report. Carlyle has broached this topic before, but says it’s worth reminding people.
“Here we go into the final budget negotiations and there are these vociferous demands for no new taxes, closing exemptions or anything and yet some of those loudest voices are from those who represent communities who … enjoy a level of spending that they value greatly,” said Carlyle who chairs the House Finance Committee.
The Legislature will go into special session on May 13 to tackle the state budget, among other issues. The key question lawmakers are fighting over is whether to raise additional tax revenue by closing tax breaks or extending existing taxes due to expire this summer.
House and Senate Republicans have argued against any additional tax revenue. The GOP controls the state Senate. Democrats control the House and governor’s office.
Carlyle says that not only have Republicans opposed raising new tax revenue statewide, they’re also arguing against allowing King County to increase taxes locally.
GOP state Rep. Gary Alexander, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee said there’s a hole in Carlyle’s argument, namely that “in terms of the ability of individuals to pay increased taxes the more rural districts are the ones which have the highest unemployment rate … so the imposition of more taxes on … marginal income levels is what I consider to be the more difficult situation.”
Alexander said he understands Carlyle’s point about local option taxes, but voters still view allowing local option taxes as a tax increase, adding “many times we’ve authorized those taxes and they never have done it.”
April 16, 2013 at 10:02 AM
House Democrats on Tuesday released a slimmed-down transportation tax package that would spend $8.4 billion on various projects, including extensions of Highways 167 and 509 as well as work on Interstate 405 and I-5.
Back in February they released a plan to spend nearly $10 billion. The new version drops proposals for a politically unpopular car-tab tax, equal to 0.7 percent of a vehicle’s value, as well as a hazardous substance tax and a bicycle tax.
The proposal retains plans to increase the state gas tax by 10 cents a gallon, phased in over four years. It also includes various weight fees and some local option taxes.
In addition to money for highway projects in the Puget Sound region, the package includes $450 million for a new bridge over the Columbia River that the GOP-led caucus in the Senate has firmly rejected.
Senate Republicans have pushed for that project to be removed from the proposal because of concerns the new bridge would not be high enough for companies to move cargo and equipment under it.
House Democrats released a statement that included a quote from Republican Sen. Curtis King of Yakima, who said “Members of both parties can agree to the critical need to invest in our transportation system and though I don’t agree with everything in this package, I agree that we need to have this conversation.”
Senate Republicans confirmed the quote, but it wasn’t immediately clear if King was just speaking for himself.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood told state lawmakers recently that the state needs to commit several hundred million dollars toward completing a multibillion dollar Columbia River crossing or risk losing up to $1.2 billion in federal support.
House Democrats plan to move the tax package out of committee this week, and have a floor vote next week.
The Legislature is running out of time to act. April 28 is the last day of the regular session and lawmakers have yet negotiate a state operating budget.
April 11, 2013 at 5:21 PM
State Senate Democrats sent a letter of apology to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood for what they viewed as a rude reception on Wednesday by the GOP-led majority caucus – a charge Republicans dispute.
“It was appalling to see the tenor of the reception he received from Sen. (Don) Benton and the Republican majority, “ Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, said in a statement.
LaHood and Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee visited with Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday. LaHood told them the state needed to commit several hundred million dollars toward completing a multibillion dollar Columbia River crossing or risk losing up to $1.2 billion in federal support.
The majority caucus initially posted a video of their meeting with LaHood online, but then pulled it. Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said the recording had been posted inadvertently and as soon as they realized the mistake, took it down.
Senate Democrats, however, felt obligated to post the recording. You can watch it here. The quality is a bit off because they recorded it off of a computer screen, with sticky notes visible at the bottom.
Republican Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, a leading critic of the proposed bridge project, said the caucus was respectful of LaHood but senators did air their concerns.
“What were we supposed to do, roll over because the secretary came to visit?” he said, adding that nobody raised their voice during the meeting. “There’s no need to apologize.”
Benton posted a news release after the meeting with LaHood that read “It’s Benton 1, U.S. Transportation secretary 0 in CRC debate at Capitol.”
David Postman, a spokesman for Inslee, said that what happens inside a caucus is supposed to remain confidential. He would not comment further.
April 10, 2013 at 12:15 PM
House Democrats set the high bar for state spending in a proposed budget released Wednesday that would raise roughly $1.3 billion in additional tax revenue and plow the same amount into K-12 education to comply with a state Supreme Court mandate.
Overall, the House proposal would spend about $34.5 billion. By comparison, Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed a $34.4 billion spending plan and Senate Republicans, $33.3 billion. The GOP budget is the only one that does not include additional money from taxes.
The House Democrats’ proposal is similar to Inslee’s in the mix of tax breaks it would close, including repealing tax exemptions for bottled water and the sales tax exemption for people living outside the state.
April 3, 2013 at 7:47 AM
Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray says the budget being released today by the GOP-led majority has input from Democrats, but he does not consider it bipartisan.
The majority caucus is expected to release its spending proposal at noon on Wednesday. Republicans have said they will meet state Supreme Court demands for more education funding and close a budget shortfall projected at more than $1 billion without increasing any taxes.
When announcing their plans on Tuesday night, Republicans called it a “bipartisan Senate operating budget proposal.”
The Republican budget has a “Democratic imprint,” Murray said in a short message. He noted that Senate Ways and Means Chairman Andy Hill, R-Redmond, worked closely with Democratic Sens. Jim Hargrove, of Hoquiam, and Sharon Nelson, of Maury Island, to craft a budget.
“But the budget is not bi-partisan yet,” he said. Murray did not elaborate.
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee released his budget priorities last week. The governor proposed $1.2 billion in additional tax revenue to be raised through closing tax breaks and extending existing taxes. He wants to put all that money into education.
House Democrats are expected to come out with their budget next week. Then all three sides will try to hash out a compromise.
March 21, 2013 at 12:23 PM
Cut spending? Increase taxes? Some of each? Here’s your chance to take a swing at balancing the state budget.
We’ve created an interactive budget game that lets you pick from dozens of potential budget cuts and tax increases to balance the budget and find more money for education.
The next two-year state budget faces up to a $1.3 billion shortfall. On top of that, the Washington Supreme Court says lawmakers need to beef up K-12 schools spending to meet the constitutional obligation to educate all children.
So step into the lawmakers’ shoes, and then use the polls below to let us know how you did.
February 5, 2013 at 4:07 PM
Citizens have another way to interact with their legislators thanks to a new online commenting system launched last week.
Instead of having to determine which legislators serve their district and tracking down an email address or phone number, constituents can simply click a “comment on this bill” link on the bill’s webpage. They will be directed to a page where they can input their email and home addresses. The website automatically will determine the constituent’s district and send a message to the corresponding legislators.
Bill information and the new commenting system can be accessed at www.leg.wa.gov.
January 16, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Jay Inslee officially became Washington state’s 23rd governor at a swearing-in ceremony Wednesday morning inside the state Capitol building.
Breaking with tradition, the new governor took the oath of office in the rotunda of the Capitol, addressing supporters and onlookers in a brief speech afterwards.
“Let’s go build a working Washington,” Inslee said to loud applause, before hugging his wife, Trudi.
The oath was administered by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen.
Beforehand, well-known environmental leader Denis Hayes offered a few remarks.
“Jay didn’t run for office because he really, really, really wanted to be governor,” said Hayes, CEO of the Bullitt Foundation. “He ran for office ,because he really, really, really wanted to get some important stuff done.”
Hayes, who is credited with founding Earth Day, said that “more than any other president or governor” in history, Inslee has a mandate to address climate change.
About 250 people watched the proceedings, sitting on the steps to the legislative chambers or jostling for prime viewpoints along the rails of the surrounding balconies. A Bainbridge Island High School music band blared ceremonial music as Inslee exited.
Inslee was scheduled address a joint session of the Legislature at 11:30 a.m.
The Democrat enters office two days into a 105-day legislative session in which lawmakers will have to close a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall and respond to a state Supreme Court order to increase education funding. Inslee has pledged to do all of that without raising taxes, although fellow Democrats are skeptical that it can be done.
Inslee, a 61-year-old longtime congressman born in Seattle, defeated Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna in the November election. He succeeds Chris Gregoire, a Democrat who gave her final State of the State address Tuesday.
The new governor will celebrate his inauguration with a basketball game Wednesday afternoon and a formal inaugural ball Wednesday evening. Some 5,000 people are expected to attend the ball.
January 10, 2013 at 8:37 AM
Although Senate Republicans vowed not to get bogged down by social issues in the upcoming legislative session, a big one is primed to smack them in the face.
State Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, plans to reintroduce legislation that would require health-insurance plans covering maternity care to also pay for abortions. The Legislature goes into session on Monday.
More interesting, though: The measure, called the Reproductive Parity Act, is co-sponsored by Republican state Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island. In addition, Sen. Rodney Tom, who’s expected to be the new Senate Majority Leader starting next week, also supports the measure.
In case you missed the recent political machinations in the Senate, Republicans are expected to take control on Monday with the help of Tom, D-Medina, and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlach, who will caucus with the GOP.
Under this arrangement, Tom will get the top spot as majority leader. Tom and other members of his caucus have said everyone agreed not to let social issues distract the Legislature from focusing on jobs, education and passing a budget.
This could test that promise. Tom and others downplayed the prospect of discord.
“You are going to see individual members do what they want to do, but what we have said is, we’re not going to let social issues divide our focus,” Tom said. “I’m fully supportive (of the measure) and still will be supportive, but we’ll see how others react to it.”
Litzow took hits during his re-election campaign for voting against the measure last session in the Senate, after it had already passed the House. Litzow says he’s always supported the legislation but voted against it last year, because it got tied up in a complicated procedural move on the Senate floor when the GOP took control of the budget.
“This is a bill that I think is important. I’ve supported this bill. I think it’s about reproductive justice,” he said. “I want to bring the issue up.”
January 8, 2013 at 4:18 PM
State Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, is a major supporter of higher education and the architect of a bill that gave the state’s universities tuition-setting authority two years ago. So it’s worth hearing what he has to say about Monday’s offer by state university presidents to freeze tuition – just as long as the Legislature gives them an additional $225 million over the biennium.
His take: He’s sympathetic , “but there’s no way in the world anyone could responsibly do that when they’re not promising to move the needle on the accountability metrics, which they helped design.”
Carlyle is referring to the State Public Four-Year Dashboard, a recently released website that looks at things like graduation rates and the time it takes to complete a degree at the state’s six four-year schools.
He says some schools are slipping on degree completion time, meaning that more students are taking longer than four years to finish their degrees. “To me, that is absolutely unacceptable for a student to slip into a fifth year due to their inability to get access to a course,” he said. An extra year of college means more students will go deeper into debt to pay for their educations.
“I just expect more from them,” Carlyle said of the universities. “We’ve got to make progress on access, affordability and quality metrics.”
About this blog
Trending with readers