Skip to comments.(WA) Groups respond to (gloomy) revenue forecast with rally against cuts to state programs
Posted on 03/17/2011 3:47:49 PM PDT by llevrok
In response to todays revenue forecast, which estimates the states budget shortfall for the next two years will be about $5.3 billion, about 1,000 teachers, health care workers students and others crowded onto the Capitol steps, calling for lawmakers to end tax exemptions rather than cutting education and social programs.
The rally, organized by a group called Our Economic Future Coalition, is one of several that have taken place in Olympia so far this session advocating tax increases rather than cuts in the biennial budget, though state lawmakers say that approach would be very difficult politically.
Collin Jergens, a spokesman for to events organizers said the purpose of the rally was to remind lawmakers that they have a choice between adding taxes and cutting social services.
The new revenue forecast just underscores the need for the Legislature to take a balanced approach, he said.
So far this session several bills have been introduced that would remove some tax exemptions including House Bill 1847 and Senate Bill 5816, both of which would add taxes to coal, private jets and plastic surgery in Washington and use the money to pay for a state-subsidized health insurance program for low-income state residents.
Doing so could bring in about $120 million per year, according to the bills fiscal notes.
Ideas like this could be hard to get through the Legislature, though, because in November voters approved Initiative 1053, which requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes.
Rep. Sam Hunt, an Olympia Democrat who came to the rally, said adding taxes to fund state programs would be a big political challenge.
I get all these emails saying, keep funding my program, keep funding my program, he said. Its going to be very difficult.
Jergens said if legislators dont pass anything to end tax exemptions this session, the coalition would push for a ballot measure to do so in the fall, though he thought it made sense for lawmakers to support bills to raise certain taxes now.
I cant understand why two-thirds wouldnt support closing tax exemptions for Wall Street banks and private jets, he said.
Participants in the rally represented a diverse collection of groups including the American Federation of Teachers, the Washington Association of Churches and the Service Employees International Union.
Ron Turner, a Tacoma resident and member of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters said he was there in support of workers in Wisconsin, given a recent law passed there that takes collective bargaining rights away from most public-sector employees.
He said he wanted state lawmakers to protect collective bargaining and pay attention to corporate practices in the state as they look for ways to balance the budget.
Another popular topic at the rally was increasing taxes on banks, a proposal homecare worker Judy Harris of Port Orchard said she supported.
They keep cutting and keep cutting the seniors and the people with disabilities and our childrens education, Harris said. Im tired of it.
WA state pigs at the trough ping
Sheesh - don’t they know all you have to do is raise taxes???
Are any of these people smart enough to realize they can write personal checks to the state treasury if they want to? If you feel you are undertaxed...write a check.
Sure they do....."Another popular topic at the rally was increasing taxes on banks...
See. It's "popular"!
I got a boat and a plane both worth about the same. My boat is taxed as personal property at 5 times what my airplane is. Aircraft are licensed like cars. Now the boaters are saying that is not fair. So lets treat boats like airplanes. In Wa it is more likly they will treat planes like boats -
No kidding. Even a (home schooled) kid could figure that out.
There is a local issue here where a private initiative to export coal from one of our idle sea ports. (Can't export logs and lumber any more). If you can't use coal here, why not in countries where it is allowed?
The SEIU and all the tree huggers are up in arms about the coal trains (environmental)and the fact we are exporting "our" coal.
Of course, they have not said anything about the high paying union jobs that will NOT be created by stopping this private initiative.
Say WA? Evergreen State ping
Quick link: WA State Board
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John Kerry showed us how that is done.
The idiots don’t realize that banks just pass it on to their customers.
Next up "Alaskans protest snow and ice".
What freaking idiots.
May the budget cuts fall like rain.