- UPDATE - 1:20 p.m.: The Tacoma News Tribune is reporting that the House does not have nearly enough votes right now to pass a sales tax increase. This is even while special interest groups like SEIU are lobbying hard in support of the increase. Still, anything could happen before the end of session.
Original post here:
- The Legislature came up with a budget deal last night but it appears that lawmakers haven't made any final decisions on a tax increase. According to the Olympian, not just one but four tax referendum proposals are on the table.
- It's clear that tax hikes are still in the air in Olympia. The Elder Care Alliance just held a press conference this morning to defend the sales tax hike proposed by Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle. And Senate Democrats just told reporters that they're dropping the income tax idea this session but still want to bring it back down the road.
- We need to continue to let our legislators know how increased taxes would affect us this year. Write your lawmakers a letter about taxes here. There is still so much that could happen before the end of the session and it appears that many tax hikes are still on the table.
- Rep. Pettigrew and Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley, had a lively debate last night on TVW about the sales tax increase. Pettigrew defended his "people will die" comment and Pflug suggested freezing public employees' salaries and trimming some of their health insurance services as an alternative to a tax increase.
- The bill to fund a KeyArena upgrade for the Sonics is dead, according to its sponsor. The Sonics have had little support in Olympia over the last few years, but this is still another indicator of how skittish lawmakers are feeling about taxes right now.
- The Everett Herald and the Vancouver Columbian are two other newspaper editorial boards that have come out against a tax increase. The Herald piece criticizes Rep. Pettigrew for his comment that "people will die" if a sales tax increase isn't approved for health care:
"Voters are smarter than Pettigrew seems to think. They'll see through this blackmail, and many will resent lawmakers for punting some of the tough decisions they were sent to Olympia to make. If this one gets to the ballot, we bet the voters will kick it right back."