Washington Temporary Sales Tax Increase Measure (2012)

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The Washington Temporary Sales Tax Increase Measure, did not appear on the November 2012 statewide ballot in Washington.

The measure would have implemented a temporary, half-cent sales tax increase. It is estimated that it would raise $500 million a year. New revenue would have been used to restore cuts made in the proposed budget; including K-12, higher education, health care, prisons, and social programs.[1]

The temporary tax increase was proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in efforts to close the $2 billion budget shortfall. The governor wanted the Washington State Legislature to place a ballot measure on the upcoming 2012 ballot.[2] The legislature was called into a special session in late November 2011 to review the proposal. The proposal was presented to the Senate budget panel on November 29, 2011.[1]

According to news reports, the governor was aiming for a March 13, 2012 special election date. This would require a decision by the legislature by December 30, 2011.[3]

If approved, the sales tax increase would have marked the first sales tax increase in the State of Washington in 28 years. Additionally, Washington would be tied with five other states for the second-highest state sales tax (7 percent) according to the Washington Department of Revenue.[4]


  • House Speaker Frank Chopp said, "I am very heartened that she included a revenue package in her proposal. We owe it to our school children, to our citizens with disabilities, and, frankly, to the future of our state to have a discussion about alternatives."[4]


  • Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt said "I think the governor sent Chicken Little out to scare people that the sky was falling, and she probably accomplished it. I don't agree that we should rush out and impose a tax on taxpayers. This is not the proper time to be doing these things."[4]
  • House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt said, "Education, public safety and services for the most vulnerable are our highest priorities and should not be held hostage in an attempt to extort a tax increase out of the voters. How can we ask taxpayers who don't have jobs to pay higher taxes to state agencies that are still giving pay raises to some employees?"[4]


  • An November 21-22, 2011 poll by The Elway Poll revealed that 43 percent were "certainly willing" and 21 percent were "probably willing" to accept the Governor's plan. A total of 408 registered voters were randomly selected for the poll. It had a 5 percent margin of error.[5][6]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing ballot measures in Washington

In order to place the measure on the statewide ballot, the measure requires at least a simple majority vote in both the House and the Senate.

See also

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External links

Additional reading