Democrats shun Republican approach to balance budget without tax increases

Voices of “Tea Party” protestors fall on deaf ears

Within hours of the massive anti-tax protests held throughout Washington, new measures to raise taxes on the citizens of the state are being introduced by Democrat lawmakers in Olympia. House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt expressed deep disappointment that the majority party budget writers have readily abandoned the idea of balancing the state budget without tax increases.

“Without tax increases, the state actually has slightly more money coming in next biennium than this biennium. When you add the additional $3 billion in federal stimulus money coming to us, the state has enough money to balance the budget and protect the most vulnerable without raising taxes,” said DeBolt, R-Chehalis. “State government should not be increasing the tax burden on Washington families who are facing difficult times of their own. The state should do what families are doing: set priorities and live within its means.

Democrat lawmakers have introduced billions in tax increase proposals this week, including a $900 million sales tax increase and a $4 billion property tax increase on “the privilege or ownership” of intangible assets, such as stocks, bonds and savings accounts. The tax on intangibles effectively acts as an income tax, taxing money that is invested or put in the bank.

Some of the large tax measures would go to the voters for approval, but DeBolt called the tax referendums a false choice cloaked in scare tactics.

“Democrats are literally telling us that people will die because of budget cuts that will be made, unless voters say ‘yes’ to tax increases,” DeBolt said. “But they are the ones who are writing the budget. Why in the world would they make cuts to the budget that they truly believe are sending our citizens to their death? And if the lives of citizens are truly hanging in the balance, why wouldn’t they just pass a tax increase instead of sending it to the ballot? The answer is that these are scare tactics, and nothing more. Republicans are here to tell everyone that there are cuts that can be made in state government that will not cause people to die.”

DeBolt noted that Democrat lawmakers increased state spending by 33 percent ($8 billion) in the last four years, turning a $1.8 billion surplus into a $8 billion shortfall.

“Olympia has a spending problem, not a revenue problem,” he said. “Every dollar government spends comes from someone who earned it. If lawmakers set priorities like working families must do, we can meet our constitutional duty to fully fund education, protect our most vulnerable, and balance the state budget without raising taxes.”

The 2009 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on April 26.

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For more information, contact:  Lisa Fenton, Communications Director – (360) 786-7728

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov