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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This morning, the governor signed House Bill 1319, which I co-sponsored, to recognize every March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. The honor is long, long overdue. It is a small thank you to the thousands of Washingtonians who served in the Vietnam War. Following the bill signing, Vietnam veterans sat in the House gallery as we passed House Resolution 4643 “Honoring Washington state veterans who served in Vietnam.” Since this will be an annual occasion, I hope we will find many ways to welcome home our Vietnam veterans in coming years.
Another group that visited the Capitol recently was the 2013 Daffodil Court, led by Queen McKenna Erhardt of Rogers High School. The visit by the Daffodil Court is one of the highlights of the legislative session each year; the Court represents the traditions and values of our community. I had the privilege of sponsoring House Resolution 4635 “Celebrating the 2013 Daffodil Festival.” Legislative schedule permitting, I look forward to seeing you at the Daffodil Festival parade on April 13.
Governor's proposed tax increases
Yesterday, Gov. Inslee released his budget outline, along with a list of tax increases. The governor's proposal includes:
- Extending 0.3 percent business and occupation (B&O) tax surcharge – $534.0 million;
- Extending 50-cent beer tax, including small brewers – $127.6 million;
- Limiting trade-in exemption to first $10,000 value – $94.8 million;
- Repealing sales tax exemption for local residential telephone service (House Bill 1971) – $83.2 million;
- Extending sales tax to custom computer software – $78.5 million;
- Trimming preferential B&O tax rates for most industries by 25 percent – $66.2 million;
- Repealing sales tax exemption for non-residents – $63.7 million;
- Repealing sales tax exemption on bottled water – $51.5 million;
- Repealing use tax exemption for extracted fuel, except hog fuel – $40.8 million;
- Eliminating preferential tax rate for resellers of prescription drugs – $29.0 million;
- Repealing B&O tax exemption for long-term rental of commercial real estate – $27.8 million;
- Narrowing tax exemption for import commerce – $24.1 million; and
- Repealing sales tax exemption for farm auction purchases – $5.6 million.
I am strongly opposed to the governor's plan for tax increases.
The fact is Washington is expected to take in $2 billion more in the coming budget cycle. The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council also noted last week that while construction and housing is up in Washington, the economy remains fragile. Not only is the governor's tax package unnecessary, it could have harmful impacts on economic recovery. I have already heard from several business owners in Puyallup who are worried about the prospect of higher taxes.
My caucus's budget writers have been meeting with the Majority Coalition Caucus in the state Senate to create a budget solution that avoids tax increases. We plan on showing the citizens of Washington state that we can fund education first, protect our most vulnerable citizens, and prioritize public safety.
Feel free to send me your feedback on the governor's tax proposals and the budget.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000