Braun unimpressed by governor’s tax-increase proposal

20th District senator asks why college students pay for state employee pay increases

Sen. John Braun’s reaction to the governor’s proposed new taxes totaling $1.4 billion in the next two years, including tax increases on businesses, oil refineries, beer and bottled-water drinkers and out-of-state shoppers, is simple:

“What happened to the promise you made six months ago to avoid tax increases?”

Braun is also concerned about the increases for state employees while increasing in state tuition by as much as 5 percent.

“The governor’s proposal is a slap in the face of college students everywhere,” said Braun, R-Centralia. “We outline a plan that reduces tuition by 3 percent across the board, and he intends to increase rates for students enrolled in our two biggest schools by 5 percent per year?”

“This is about a promise to working families and our unemployed friends, family and neighbors,” Braun said. “How are we going to promote private-sector job growth when the state budget calls for additional taxes on state businesses, computer software, phone service and new taxes on automobile purchases?”

The proposed package also includes approximately $800 million in increased compensation payments for public employees.

“This is a $3.2 billion increase in revenue, which equates to 10.2 percent over the last biennium,” Braun said. “Of that, $1.2 billion comes from new taxes. This proposal is not the direction our caucus is heading, nor do we expect any of our 25 members to support this plan.”

Below is a list of twelve tax increases proposed by the governor for the 2013-15 biennium, which are now called the governor’s “Dirty Dozen”:

The “Dirty Dozen” tax increases:

  1. Tax increase on recycled fuel environmental programs at Washington’s oil refineries – $40.8 million
  2. Tax increase on new car purchases – $94 million
  3. Tax increase on bottled water –  $51 million
  4. Business and occupation tax increase on most state businesses –  $94 million
  5. Making temporary taxes set to expire on service-industry businesses permanent – $534 million
  6. Tax increase on prescription drugs – $29 million
  7. Tax increase on computer software – $78 million
  8. Tax increase on telephone services – $83 million
  9. Tax increase on import commerce – $24 million
  10. Making temporary taxes set to expire on beer permanent, and extending the tax to the state’s microbreweries (which were originally exempt) – $127 million
  11. Extending state sales tax to non-residents of Washington state – $63 million
  12. Tax increase on farm vehicles – $5 million