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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Washington State's Knee-jerk Tax Increase

from the Evergreen Freedom Foundation newsletter

"As time runs out on the special session—scheduled to end April 13—lawmakers continue to struggle on finalizing the state budget. The big holdup is over a disagreement between Democrats in the House and Senate on the tax package.

"Both chambers have approved tax proposals that raise $800 million to close the budget gap, but the content of the proposals are different. All the hand-wringing has come down to about $100 million worth of disagreements over which taxes to raise.

"Meanwhile, the Legislature did manage to pass a few taxpayer-unfriendly proposals. Last week legislators passed a tax increase to pay for an enhanced 911 system that is expected to collect nearly $79 million over the next 10 years. Legislators seemed impervious to the argument that core functions of government, like public safety, should be funded first and within existing resources. This tax hike is in addition to the $800 million package (nearly $3 billion over 3 years) legislators expect to pass to balance the budget.

"Imagine the progress we could have made if legislators had dedicated even a tenth of the time spent haggling over taxes to considering real reforms needed to balance the budget over the long haul! Some of the reforms we’ve suggested include paring down state employee benefits, privatizing the liquor system, and allowing private companies to get taxpayers a better deal by competing with each other to provide vital government services.

"Ironically, Sen. Ed Murray said, in defending the Senate’s recent tax proposal, “There are no real good choices when you’re raising taxes.” We agree! And if that’s true, why is that the only thing Democrats in the Legislature are considering? We have proposed many common-sense solutions to our budget problems. You can read many of them on our website at www.effwa.org.

"We need to send a loud and clear message to lawmakers that they need to work to save money and make government more efficient, not raise taxes! That’s one of the reasons we are co-sponsoring a “Tea for Two” Tax Day Rally next week on April 15. Several staff members will also be speaking at Tax Day Tea Party Rallies in other locations.

"Please join us as we rally for common-sense solutions. Both “Tea for Two” rallies are packed with an assortment of dynamic speakers, live music, and family-friendly entertainment, while at the same time giving you the chance to make your voice heard on issues like health care, taxation, and out-of-control government."

Amber Gunn, Evergreen Freedom Foundation

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Tea Party Rallies on April 15, 2010
Tea for Two Part 1: Olympia Rally – Capitol Campus from Noon-3:00 p.m.
Event link

Tea for Two Part 2: Seattle Rally – Westlake Park from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Event link

Whidbey Island Tea Party Rally in Oak Harbor – Windjammer Park Gazebo from 4-6 p.m.
Event link

Information about other rallies in Spokane, Tri-Cities, Bellingham, and others:
Event link

After Tax Day Rally on April 17, 2010
Vancouver “We the People” Rally – Esther Short Park from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Event link

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-- Joseph Stalin