- It appears more likely that the Legislature is moving toward a budget without sending any tax increases to voters. This is very encouraging, though we'll still keep our eyes on Olympia in the next couple days to make sure this happens. If you haven't already, contact your legislators to let them know how you feel about taxes.
- The daily papers all have rundowns of the final budget decisions. Rep. Eric Pettigrew, the sponsor of the sales tax increase, told the Seattle Times that lawmakers "are really concerned with the impact of taxes on folks." That's the message we've been trying to send, and it sounds like it is getting through.
- Besides the sales tax hike, HB 2377, the other tax increase floating out there has been HB 2334, a $3 billion bond measure for schools sponsored by Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish. It does not appear that either is going to make it to the full House for a vote, but if there were any weekend surprises, they would probably revolve around these bills.
- Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, told the Spokane Spokesman-Review: “You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that people don’t want more taxes right now.”
- The Democrats tell the Olympian that their two-year operating budget is centered around "cuts with a conscience" to health care and schools. State parks will stay open and money to keep class sizes small will be preserved. The House is set to vote on the budget today and the Senate tomorrow.
- The Tacoma News Tribune has the links to all the budget documents and details.
- Think Washington has it bad in terms of state budget? Oregon might be worse. The Oregonian just wrote a story outlining how Washington is pretty well off compared to its southern neighbor. (Thanks for the Capitol Record for the original link.) An excerpt of the story:
The state has a stronger economy with better-paid workers, a lower jobless rate, a more diverse tax base and a flush $3.6 billion unemployment trust fund, among the nation's richest.
Washington voters also approved a 9.5-cent gas tax increase three years ago that helped raise $3.5 billion for 1,400 transportation projects that have become a job stimulus program.
Overall, Washington spends more per capita than Oregon, giving it more room to cut. Washington is trimming certain services and programs that Oregon doesn't even offer.