March 10, 2009
The False Glimmer of Easy Tax Increases

Governor Gregoire says "sin" taxes aren't the answer to our state's budget woes.


Buried in an AP story over the weekend, extolling public support for such measures, was this:

However, those targeted sources don't provide much money when compared to the deficit of $8 billion or more.

A state Revenue Department analysis shows a nickel tax on cans of pop would bring in about $277 million over the 2009-2011 budget cycle. Extending sales tax to candy and gum would only bring in about $60 million.

In the big picture, this all contributes to the notion that there simply aren't enough people in Olympia right now who actually understand the problem, let alone who find a reasonable way out of it.

All of which begs the question, just how late into the year will this legislative season go?

Posted by Eric Earling at March 10, 2009 08:47 AM | Email This
1. There's just not enough money period to finance the socialist Democrat dreams. But that won't stop them, because caution and effectiveness are really not their goals.

Posted by: Jeff B. on March 10, 2009 08:36 AM
2. It's a budget deficit. It means that they don't have enough revenue to cover the spending they plan on doing. It does not mean they don't have tax revenue coming in.

So, change the plan. If it is true that we are still taking in more tax revenue than last year, reduce planned expenditures to match the income. Freeze spending. It's only a temporary freeze, unlike temporary taxes.

Don't raise taxes. Who'll pay? The 8.1% on unemployment? Why not just lower the unemployment pay and skip the taxes - same net effect on those people.

Raise taxes on the small businesses that are just squeaking by right now? Smart move. Get rid of them and you can reduce the workload of processesing all that B&O paperwork.

In good times, government loves all the revenue and expands programs and spends frivolously because of their riches. In down times, they say they can't cut back on spending because they have all these obligations and needy people to take care of. In other words, government never sees a reason to cut back on spending.

But why should they? It's their money from which they grant us permission to use a portion as we see fit.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on March 10, 2009 08:50 AM
3. Well said Southern Roots.........
The KLOWNS will continue to attempt to "frame the argument" that they have a "revenue shortfall". That presumes current spending levels are appropriate. NOT!

Gregoire is the deer in the headlights....or is she? She is allowing this Budget debacle to drag out and sideshows to occur rather than focus.
Ask yourself WHY??

The answer is the Democrats have been scheming with the Dept. of Revenue to find loopholes in the law to borrow or increase taxes. They will wait until the very last minute to spring this on the citizens and then JAM IT THRU.
It's apparently easier for these evil ones to ask for "forgiveness" than "permission" to mortgage our kids future or raise our taxes.

Will they get away with it??
Unless the Republicans stick together, issue a consistently strong Conservative message...the Dems will get away with it.

Pray for Conservatives to continue to come forward to run for office and challenge the Dems in 2010.

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on March 10, 2009 09:25 AM
4. I really like how Governor Rossi is running Olympia. Where was this fiscal common sense 4 years ago?

Posted by: Andy on March 10, 2009 09:27 AM
5. Have you noticed one thing missing from this whole story.

(Stop your damn spending) &%$@#$^&+_*(

Adding more taxes mean zip if you don't stop your spending. Jezzzz

Posted by: Medic/Vet on March 10, 2009 09:40 AM
6. The answer to solving present and future deficits are:

* to keep spending like drunken sailors
* tax the wealthy(>$250K) to death

That'll be the ticket to endless prosperity!

Posted by: Crusader on March 10, 2009 09:47 AM
7. @6 add to the list:

*500% tax on cigarettes

Cigarette taxes are everyone's all in solution to every tax revenue problem.

Posted by: Palouse on March 10, 2009 09:50 AM
8. Spending is the opiate of most, but not all, democrats! It makes them feel good just like a trip to the mall.

Posted by: Fed Up on March 10, 2009 10:23 AM

Even my cubbymate at work who supported Obama and the socialist dreams made a snide comment regarding money today. He said, "well, pretty soon I'll be able to be buried with my pet. Don't they have something better to do?"

His concerns are that he is going to dive into the IRA I setup up for him (Simple IRA) for his down payment so he is invested in stock market. He is also buying his first house and is, for the first time, worried about the economy- i.e. can I keep him employed while he has these house payments?

Go figure.

Posted by: swatter on March 10, 2009 10:27 AM
10. Jeff B. @ #1 and SouthernRoots @ #2 pretty much said it; plus some other good comments.
Add in what seems to be a pervasive state of denial by the majority party in Oly, and we have the ingredients for a truly wrenching reality check not too far down the road.

WRT Eric's ''how late into the year'' question:
Way too many variables to solve the equation yet, but I will suggest odds are fairly good there will have to be one or even > 1 special Session after the mandated sine die date, that could go on for a long time; maybe even setting a new record total time in Session for the year.
One big driver:
Every time the deficit estimate goes up, there seems to be a stunded expression of surprise by many in Oly (manufactured suprise, probably, but whatever...).
The way things are going I'll be surprised if the final deficit (from the accounting ''starting point'') thru end of next biennium does not exceed NINE billion. If things get really bad and stay that way out into 2010, then TEN billion in the red is not out of the question.

Posted by: Methow Ken on March 10, 2009 10:36 AM
11. @9 swatter - ask your cubbymate why he thought Obama was hopenchange. I'm sure we'll all get some laughs by what you find out. I suspect he might have simply been more repulsed by McCain.

Posted by: Crusader on March 10, 2009 10:41 AM
12. Typing too fast: ''Stunned'' not ''stunded'' in my last above, of course...

Posted by: Methow Ken on March 10, 2009 10:45 AM
13. Ken--
that "stunned expression"...

untouched by the local press..i for one as a skinny reporter would have asked the WA budget guys who sit there collecting salaries/bene's all year, what the h*ll have you been doing 40 hrs a week for years? if denied interviews, i'd emphasize that with force in my article to contra the "transparency" everyone blows about;

then, I would have interviewed the leftie economics professors at colleges and univesities and grilled their pants off...then, charted their responses on a table...excercise in futility? maybe, but even roaches run when the lights are on...or at least they know a broom is coming

no warnings? all surprises? i know for one, that 'surprises' in the private sector i work in get you FIRED if they're big fu-bars and you didn't tell your boss or others in the company in time; then again, why tell your boss if politically it will kill them?!

pol's wonder why they are respected no higher than used car salesmen--because the car salesman is at least consistent; he does not play both sides & lie to all sides; you know going in;

Posted by: jimmie howya doin on March 10, 2009 12:08 PM
14. Talk about spending over the TOP
Judicial Watch blows the cover on the Speaker of the House (Nancy P) and her abusing the Air Force on flying where ever and when ever she wants.
Read some of letters from the house to the Air Force... sick!

Posted by: Medic/Vet on March 10, 2009 12:16 PM
15. Are you in support of sin taxes? I can't tell if you are using that as a way to make your point concerning the legislatures misunderstanding of the budget issues or if you also meant that every option should be explored, including sin taxes.

Sin taxes are just another byproduct of socialism. They force a sub-portion of the population to pay a disproportionate amount of taxes.

That isn't freedom. That is socialism.

Posted by: TedR on March 10, 2009 12:19 PM
16. Here is a list of the Washington State Investment Board that is responsible for the BILLIONS of Losses that have put the fund in a huge underfunded position:

Lots of Union Folks.
Look at the qualifications.
Why aren't these folks being challenged by the media for what they have done?
Why did Joe Dear run away to California?

This is the most underplayed story relative to magnitude of losses that I have ever encountered.
Seems like there is a news blackout.

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on March 10, 2009 12:28 PM
17. Here is the 6/30/08 Annual Report of the Washington State Investment Fund.
Read it carefully!

Why hasn't this been vetted publicly?
And keep in mind, there were huge losses since 6/30/08.
No wonder Joe ran like a Deer!

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on March 10, 2009 12:31 PM
18. And last, here is the most recent Quarterly Report of the Washington State Investment Board for the period ended 12/31/08.
And things have gotten worse since then?

WHO is ultimately responsible for these huge losses? YOU THE TAXPAYER!
Good luck.
Happy reading.
And remember, these reports are the reports "of the Board" so it's the spin that is interesting.
Sounds like they are telling us they did a great job...and it was all the fault of the economy.

These same guys took all the dredit when the market went up...yet they take none of the blame when the market went down???
No sale here.
Demand accountability for the Washington State Investment Fund and it's Board!
Democrats, Unions and State Employees did this!!
No wonder the media isn't interested.

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on March 10, 2009 12:36 PM
19. Here is the 12/31/08 Quarterly link:

Get educated.
Get outraged.
Taxpayers ought to SUE this Board and Joe Dear.

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on March 10, 2009 12:46 PM
20. Keep in mind they were investing money for DEFINED BENEFIT (guaranteed by taxpayers) PLANS.
The question is, why did they take such huge equity risks?
Why were they trying to make an 8% Annual Return in the face of a huge recession?
All they can say is LONG-TERM INVESTING.
But that skirts the question of excessive risk on a Defined Benefit Plan.

ALSO, these same people were investing Labor & Industries Workers Comp TRUST FUNDS. Big losses here too. I see tremendous professional liability issues at stake here.
Why aren't the Republican Legislators screaming about this????

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on March 10, 2009 12:51 PM
21. Mr. Cynical, you don't have the monopoly on being cynical, so...

Who said there were any Republicans left in this state?

Posted by: swatter on March 10, 2009 01:52 PM
22. 16-21: my opinion

the state has been secretly sprayed at night with: "Agent Orch"

no---not "agent orange"

"Agent Orchidectomy"

it shrivells da ballz & makes one compromise all their voting principles and go for the quick fix;

genetic engineering
target group only affects Wash. Party-Loyal-Toting R's.

TRUE conservatives have some residual resistance.
now--like the roaches--maybe we'll reproduce our votes after the big blast...

Posted by: jimmie howya doin on March 10, 2009 04:03 PM
23. It's always easy to spend Other People's Money...


Posted by: Shanghai Dan on March 10, 2009 05:00 PM
24. Mary Margaret Haugen, who is suppose to be supporting Island County residents, and I'm sure who celebrated and flashed their 1% Property tax limits to everyone, better be eating Island County Seagull crow right now.

Island County raised my property taxes $1100 this year alone, even though my tiny home fell in value over $150,000.

Island COunty has it over evaluated by over $158,000 compared to Zillow.

No Tax hikes, Gregoire and Mary Margaret Haugen and their entier gang of thieves can take their so called 1% property tax limit lies and shove them where he sun don't shine.

Who keeps electing these rip off artists, in the middle of a recession none the less!

Posted by: GS on March 10, 2009 05:49 PM
25. How about a temporary reinstatement of slavery during this time of emergency. All taxpayers would be required to report to a work crew to do whatever, with the proceeds of their labor being 'donated' to the state.

Best of all we could use troopers and King County sheriff's deputys who are on paid administrative leave due to beatings, molestations etc., to oversee the work crew. They are already being paid, so there would be no extra cost. This is a win-win.

Posted by: travis t on March 10, 2009 06:38 PM
26. answer: April 16

Posted by: Doug on March 11, 2009 09:43 AM
27. WHO keeps electing these slobs, someone asked?

look at your kid that you are paying college costs for, or your neighbor who is with the union and likes his boat and RV and his Atv and wants YOU to pay for that, or the silly, stupid teacher(s) that seem to have every other day off and gather in the the BIG bucks...yes, they make very good money...for hardly working....

they are the same stupid people that voted in the new Hitler....

Posted by: lee on March 11, 2009 11:47 AM
28. Sin taxes seem fine. But these pols can't rely on tax increases to solve all problems. They have to cut back, just like families do when they hit a rough patch. Why isn't this obvious to Olympia? There's just no common sense down there. I think many people run their personal finances better than the politicians in Olympia run the state budget and spending.

Posted by: Michele on March 11, 2009 05:50 PM
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