Washington tax increases possible, voters to decide on spending limit
OLYMPIA, Washington: State legislators are still struggling to balance the state budget and today Gov. Christine Gregoire announced that future tax increases are still a possibility. But with an upcoming November 2009 election and Initiative 1033 on the ballot, tax increases may prove to be difficult, said Sen. Rodney Tom. I-1033 is a measure that would limit growth of certain state, county and city revenue to annual inflation and population growth, not including voter-approved revenue increases. Should I-1033 pass, Tom said,"I think we just all go home and bury our heads in the sand."
In the last legislative session the governor opposed tax increases when the state faced an approximately $4.5 billion budget deficit. According to current revenue reports officials estimate that the state may face an additional $1 billion budget gap. Gov. Gregoire said, "At some point, the people, I assume, don't want us to take any more cuts. I mean, I'm already hearing about, 'Why did you cut education?' Well, there weren't any options. We're without options."
However, Sen. Joe Zarelli suggests legislators should focus on making government more efficient before implementing tax increases. Zarelli said,"We've got to understand that as difficult as it is for us, it's even more difficult for the average man or woman on the street."