Wash. Senate has final vote on suspension of I-960 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wash. Senate has final vote on suspension of I-960

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - The state Senate is expected to take its final vote on the temporary suspension of Initiative 960, just ahead of the House and Senate Democrats unveiling their budget proposals.

I-960 makes it harder for legislators to raise taxes, which is why the Democratic majority needs it to be suspended. The Senate must agree to changes made by the House, which approved the suspension last week. The Senate vote is scheduled for Monday night.
     
Budget writers want a mix of spending cuts, tax increases and one-time fixes to fill a $2.8 billion deficit. But Initiative 960, approved in 2007, requires two-thirds approval from legislators to raise taxes, a significant hurdle compared with the simple majority needed to pass other measures.

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

(February 17, 2010)

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.

More Information:

Excise Tax on Bottled Water
Bottled water is a discretionary purchase. This proposal would require wholesalers to pay a tax of 1 cent per ounce on bottled water. It would generate $134.7 million this biennium.

Excise Tax on Carbonated Beverages
Carbonated beverages are a discretionary purchase. Their consumption leads to growing public health issues, including childhood obesity and diabetes. Through an excise tax of 5 cents per 12 ounces, this proposal would raise $93.6 million this biennium.

Increase Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax
Tobacco, in all forms, continues to be a major health hazard. Increasing the price of cigarettes and tobacco products reduces consumption, especially among young people. While some may be concerned that higher taxes may lead people to buy contraband tobacco products, we will need to ensure enforcement. This increase would raise $88.8 million this biennium.

Sales Tax on Candy and Gum
Candy and gum, both discretionary purchases, are currently classified as food and thus exempt from sales tax. This proposal would extend sales tax to candy and gum, encourage healthier food choices and raise $28 million this biennium.

From: governor.wa.gov

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<td style="text-align: left;"><strong>Gov. Gregoire: Proposed Taxes</strong><br /><br /><strong><span style="font-size: 10px;">Excise Tax on Bottled Water</span></strong><br /><span style="font-size: 10px;">Bottled water is a discretionary purchase. This proposal would require wholesalers to pay a tax of 1 cent per ounce on bottled water. It would generate $134.7 million this biennium.<br /><strong><br />Excise Tax on Carbonated Beverages</strong><br />Carbonated beverages are a discretionary purchase. Their consumption leads to growing public health issues, including childhood obesity and diabetes. Through an excise tax of 5 cents per 12 ounces, this proposal would raise $93.6 million this biennium.<br /><br /><strong>Increase Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax</strong><br />Tobacco, in all forms, continues to be a major health hazard. Increasing the price of cigarettes and tobacco products reduces consumption, especially among young people. While some may be concerned that higher taxes may lead people to buy contraband tobacco products, we will need to ensure enforcement. This increase would raise $88.8 million this biennium.<br /><br /><strong>Sales Tax on Candy and Gum</strong><br />Candy and gum, both discretionary purchases, are currently classified as food and thus exempt from sales tax. This proposal would extend sales tax to candy and gum, encourage healthier food choices and raise $28 million this biennium.<br /></span></td>
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