Topic: tax increase
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February 4, 2013 at 5:02 PM
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.
February 1, 2013 at 1:29 PM
House Democrats on Friday voted down a rule proposed by Republicans that would require a two-thirds majority to increase taxes.
Melinda McCrady, a spokeswoman for the House Democrats, said the GOP proposal would have changed procedural rules and required a two-thirds vote to bring up a tax measure for final passage.
The concept of a two-thirds threshold is currently before the Washington Supreme Court. The rule proposed by Republicans would have acted as a backup if the court rules that it’s unconstitutional to require a two-thirds vote on final passage. The GOP measure would have required a super-majority vote just to bring up a tax measure for final passage.
Current law, reaffirmed by passage of Initiative 1185 last year, requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate to increase taxes.
Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, urged fellow representatives to pass the two-thirds rule to honor the decision made by voters. He also argued that making tax increases more difficult to enact would help the economic recovery for middle-class families.
“When taxes go up, it hits [the middle class] and the people who work for them, because people don’t have the money to come in and spend,” Wilcox said.
Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, argued that the House had a responsibility to fund government, and that imposing the two-thirds rule would make that more difficult. He said passage of the rule could lead to “rule of the minority.”
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