Wash. governor approves suspension of anti-tax law - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wash. governor approves suspension of anti-tax law

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>>Your Guide to the Washington State Budget

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Chris Gregoire has approved a measure that will temporarily suspend the tax-limiting constraints placed on lawmakers by voter-approved Initiative 960.
     
Gregoire signed the bill Wednesday afternoon, just days after the Legislature approved the measure. The bill spurred two weeks of heated debate in both the House and Senate.
     
I-960 made it harder for lawmakers to raise taxes or to close tax exemptions, which is why the Democratic majority wanted it suspended.
     
Budget writers want a mix of spending cuts, tax increases and one-time fixes to fill a $2.8 billion deficit. But I-960, approved in 2007, required 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

How Big is the State Budget?

As of the 2009 Legislative Session, the State of Washington will spend a total of $71.8 billion for the 2009-11 biennium. That is an average of $98 million per day during the two-year spending period. This $71.8 billion includes amounts from three different budgets, which are plans of how the state will spend the money.

  • The budget that pays for the day-to-day operations of state government (including federal funds and dedicated funds) is called the Operating Budget ($58.7 billion).
  • The budget that pays for transportation activities, such as designing and maintaining roads and public transit, is called the Transportation Budget ($7.6 billion). This budget includes amounts for both transportation operating activities ($2.9 billion) and transportation capital activities ($4.7 billion).
  • The budget to acquire and maintain state buildings, public schools, higher education facilities, public lands, parks, and other assets is called the Capital Budget ($5.4 billion).
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