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November 21, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Gregoire proposes half-cent state sales tax increase

Gov. Chris Gregoire will propose sending voters a half-cent sales tax increase that would expire in three years as a way to help balance the state budget, according to sources close to the discussions.

The sales tax would bring in close to $500 million annually and be largely used to help fund education. The tax is part of a larger proposal to bring more revenue to help pay for state services.

The Legislature goes into special session on Nov. 28 to deal with a $2 billion budget shortfall.

Gregoire on Monday released a proposed budget that in terms of cuts, is largely the same as what she proposed last month with some notable exceptions.

For example, Gregoire dropped an earlier proposal to increase K-12 class sizes. However, she’s now proposing to reduce the school year by four days.

The move would shrink the school year from 180 days to 176 days. That would result in a 2.2 percent pay cut for teachers beginning in the 2012-13 school year and save the state $99 million.

However, Gregoire would use any new tax revenue approved by voters to “buy back” that cut, along with several others in her proposed budget.

 

Comments | More in Education, General news, Government | Topics: education, Gov. Chris Gregoire, sales taxes

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