Yesterday, after months of foreshadowing, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said lawmakers will be called back to Olympia for a special session to finish work left undone after the previous two special sessions earlier in 2013. This session will be focused on cutting a deal to pass a transportation budget for Washington that includes everything from road construction, mass transit, and keeping our bridges and transportation infrastructure safe for use. Gov. Inslee has indicated his hope that lawmakers will be able to pass a transportation budget quickly as negotiations are currently developing.
What you should know is the Gov. has proposed to raise $10 billion in new taxes and fees over 10 years.
Much of the proposal dedicated priority spending on projects like state Route 167 from Puyallup to the Port of Tacoma, finishing the new Seattle/Bellevue Floating 520 bridge, and building a new highway in Spokane. Noticeably absent is the much ballyhooed Columbia River Crossing between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. The contentious project has been deemed necessary to get working families and students to jobs and school with mass transit and light rail across the Columbia River. However, conservative opponents seemed to have all but squashed hopes of replacing the half-century old bridge and easing congestion for low-income families who depend on mass transit in Southwest Washington.
While the details are emerging and will be known soon, we are certainly concerned with any increase in taxes that already compound Washington’s broken tax system that overburdens tax-payers who earn the least paying the most proportion of their earned income. Until our state fixes its outdated and punitive tax codes, we will remain skeptical of any additional sales-tax measures. Revenue is critical to our state’s prosperity; we fully support finding additional streams of revenue to support the programs and services that make our state great. What we will not support is adding to the burden of working families while corporations and high-income earners are not paying their fair share.
Stay tuned for more information on the special session and as always check back often for the latest ways you can take action to help create a Washington where everyone can prosper.