Despite obstruction, we will get to vote in November on tax increases imposed by the Legislature

by | Jul 24, 2015

In November, we will be voting on I-1366 to make it tougher to raise taxes.

        Also on the November ballot will be the various tax increases imposed by the Legislature this year.  They will serve as a powerful reminder of how tax-obsessed Olympia is without a 2/3 requirement.

        In 2007, 2010, and 2012, the voters overwhelmingly approved our initiatives that required (among other things) any tax increase passed by the Legislature and blocked from a public vote (by the use of an emergency clause, for example) be put on the November ballot as a tax advisory vote.  There have been 9 tax advisory votes so far (Tax Advisory Votes #1 & 2 in 2012, #3-7 in 2013, and #8 & 9 in 2014).

          Yesterday the Attorney General notified the Secretary of State of this year’s tax increases.  Here they are:

Cost for higher taxes on fuel (the gas tax):  $3.7 billion (the actual cost: $15 billion statewide and $15 billion in the Puget Sound)

Cost for higher business taxes on royalties and equipment (the Microsoft tax):  $851 million

Cost for higher sales taxes (the nexus / click through tax):  $598 million

Cost for higher taxes on marijuana (the marijuana tax):  $4 million

Cost for “Oil spill administrative tax”:  $15 million

Cost for “Oil spill response tax”:  $1.35 million

     We wish the Legislature hadn’t raised taxes — that’s not what the voters in 2014 asked for.  If the Legislature hadn’t raised billions of dollars in higher taxes, there wouldn’t be that increased burden on struggling taxpayers and there wouldn’t be these advisory votes.  November’s voters pamphlet will once again serve a tax increase report card.  Voters will learn which taxes were increased, what each tax increase will cost, and how each legislator voted on each tax increase.

     Any tax increase is, of course, a burden on struggling taxpayers.  But it is important to note the long list of “dodged bullets” from the session:

A new capital gains tax (House Bill 1484).  Cost:  $8.4 billion.

Inslee’s “cap and tax” bill (Substitute House Bill 1314):  Cost:  $14.1 billion.

A new state income tax (Senate Bill 6114).  Cost:  $69.7 billion.

The property tax “levy swap” (Senate Bill 6109).  Cost:  $15 billion.

5-fold increase in property tax increases (HB 2255).  Cost:  $2 billion.

     Initiative 1366 is called the “Taxpayer Protection Act” for a reason:  it’s all about protecting the taxpayers from Olympia’s insatiable tax appetite.  Whenever people ask why our initiative is necessary, all we say is “Did you see how tax-obsessed Olympia was this year?”