Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fresh ideas for Washington's future

A group of 13 House Democratic freshmen kicked off a conversation this morning to discuss plans for the long-term fiscal health of Washington and bringing fairness to the state tax code. These lawmakers are bringing a number of issues to the table such as simplifying the B&O tax, requiring periodic legislative review of tax preferences, and adopting a capital gains tax.
Washington is the only state exempting out-of-state residents from paying sales tax. Rep. Kris Lytton has plans to end this loophole and, by redirecting the estimated $52 million/biennium, is pushing to fully fund all-day kindergarten.
Rep. Steve Tharinger stressed the need for careful analysis of the tax giveaways that have been in the books for almost a century, to see if those funds could be used in better ways to help rural communities that have not been spared from budget cuts.
A measure to re-balance the tax burden was put forth by Rep.Laurie Jinkins, which would apply a five percent excise tax on capital gains in excess of $10,000/year. This would generate approximately $1.4 billion per biennium that would be used to protect education and health care from further devastating cuts. 
The House Democratic freshmen realize these aren’t solutions to the state’s immediate budget problems, but rather emphasized this new approach to funding our state’s most vital services, ensuring long-term stability for Washington residents.
The legislators are planning a summer ‘listening tour’ in their home and neighboring districts to discuss these proposals with their constituents.
To read the press release about this morning’s news conference, click here.

To read this post in Spanish, click here.

Watch the press conference below: