The Seattle Times
reports that state revenue forecasts are continuing to go down, this time by another $522 million, meaning the state of Washington now faces a budget hole of around $9 billion over the next 2 years.
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The question of how to fill that budget hole was the topic of "The Conversation
" today on KUOW, our local NPR radio station. Based on recent polling, voters are apparently relatively supportive of increasing taxes on 'sins' like cigarettes and alcohol, and callers to the show were also generally in favor of that type of taxes. People also seemed to be more supportive of these taxes for use covering children's health care, which is on the chopping block as the Governor and the legislature consider cuts to Medicaid. However, when host Ross Reynolds suggested a tax on internet downloads, that was decidely less popular.
According to an AP report
, voters in Washington prefer temporary tax increases, ones that include a "sunset" clause that would automatically end them after a few years. Taxes on things considered vices, such as pop, cigarettes, candy, gum, and alcohol, were very popular in the poll. An untargeted 1% increase on the entire sales tax was far less popular, although voters were more inclined to be supportive if they thought substantial cuts in the budget were also being made.
The least popular tax alternatives were increasing certain business taxes, gas taxes, and a tax on bottle water.
Although some groups are pushing for a tax increase put before the voters to cover the budget deficit, Senator Rodney Tom from the Bellevue area said that it was unlikely voters would approve it. "I wouldn't bet on it," he told the Seattle Times
What do you think? Are there any tax increases you would support to fill the holes? Are children's health care and education important enough to raise taxes?
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