Wash. gov asks for $600 million in taxes for deficit - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wash. gov asks for $600 million in taxes for deficit

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Chris Gregoire wants a total of $605 million in higher taxes to help fill the state's budget deficit.
     
In a letter to state lawmakers, Gregoire says her top priority was looking for taxes that wouldn't handcuff the fragile economic recovery.
     
The biggest item in Gregoire's revenue plan is a near-tripling of the tax rate on oil products and other pollutants. It would raise about $148 million.
     
The Democratic governor also wants a penny-per-ounce tax on bottled water, which would raise about $135 million. She also is asking for taxes on pop, cigarettes, and candy.
     
Gregoire's plan also would close some tax exemptions and fix state laws to recover money lost in court cases.
     
The projected deficit for this fiscal year is $2.8 billion.

WA House continues debate on suspension of I-960

The state House is continuing its two-day debate over the temporary suspension of tax-limiting Initiative 960.
     
After a six-hour debate Tuesday night in which the Republican minority sought to indefinitely postpone action on the bill, the House started debate on final passage Wednesday morning. After an hour, they said they would return at 8 p.m. to continue the contentious debate and to vote on the bill.
     
The initiative requires that two-thirds of the Legislature approve any tax increase, a significant hurdle compared to the simple majority approval needed for other bills.
     
The Senate already has endorsed a suspension of that rule until July 2011. Majority Democrats say they nee to make that move to patch a $2.8 billion budget deficit.

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