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Your Voice is Still Needed

Please call your state senator today (and members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee) to express your support for increasing state revenue to reduce the magnitude of the cuts our state will be forced to make to cover the projected deficit (currently $2.8 billion).  Forcing those who benefit from state sponsored schools, health care, and childcare programs to make the total sacrifice required to balance the budget costs too much.  We need to reduce the magnitude of the cuts by closing tax loopholes and creating minor increases in revenue.  Urge your state senators to vote in support of SB 6873, SB 6874, and SB 6875.

Bills Discussed:
SB 6873 – 2009-10   Increasing state revenues to preserve funding for essential public services by preventing abusive tax avoidance transactions, narrowing or eliminating certain tax preferences, and providing equitable tax treatment.
SB 6874 – 2009-10   Providing funding for the basic health plan by increasing the taxes on certain tobacco products and facilitating the funding within the state expenditure limit.
SB 6875 – 2009-10   Providing funding for levy equalization, state need grants, kindergarten programs, and working families’ tax exemptions by increasing revenues and facilitating the funding within the state expenditure limit.
Your legislators need to hear from you now!!!
Last night I listened to testimony from 5:00 pm to almost 8:30 pm given by citizens and lobbyists opposing proposals to increase state revenue in order to reduce the number of state services that must be cut as a result of the $2.8 billion projected budgetary deficit. While a few people testified in support of the bills to increase revenue in order to reduce the size of the cuts legislators will have to make in needed state services, most testified that they oppose the bills as they would be damaged by efforts to close tax loopholes, by increasing sales taxes (even by 3/10ths of 1 cent), or by increasing tobacco taxes.  I suppose it is not surprising thatthose who most benefit from current preferential tax treatment through reduced payment of taxes would oppose closing the tax loopholes that support that preferential treatment.  What I found disappointing was there were not more people testifying to the damage they—or those they represent—will suffer if the magnitude of cuts required to balance our state budget is not offset by increased revenue as supported by these bills.
This makes your voice even more important!!!

Positive impacts of these bills include:

Reduce cuts of voter-approved funding to reduce class sizes in early grades and improve student achievement;

  • Reduce cuts of temporary financial and medical assistance through GA-U for people who are unable to work due to disability;
  • Reduce cuts in health care benefits provided through the Basic Health Plan; and
  • Reduce cuts to child care assistance for working families.    

How each works:

  • SB 6873 closes loopholes in the existing state tax structure that provide preferential treatment by reducing taxes paid by specific individuals or industries relative to others similarly identified.  I was not able to find a specific amount of revenue this bill is projected to generate, however, I believe the amount of increased state revenue generated by closing loopholes is projected to be the largest of the three separate bills.  This is the most needed and the most controversial of the three bills. Senators need to know constituents support SB 6873.
  • SB 6874 adds $1/pack to the cigarette tax to raise $86 million to fund 37,000 Basic Health Plan enrollees (the BHP currently provides health care benefits to 65,000 low-income state residents, has over 90,000 people on its waiting list, and will be requried to cut additional enrollees if new revenue is not found).
  • SB 6875 adds 3/10 of 1 cent to existing sales taxes to raise an additional $313 million to provide funding for levy equalization, state need grants, kindergarten programs, and working families’ tax exemptions by increasing revenues and facilitating the funding within the state expenditure limit and supports a state Earned Income Tax Credit to minimize the regressive impact of the sales tax on low-income state residents.      

Please contact your state senator today to urge her or him to support SB 6873, SB 6874, and SB 6875 to increase state revenue in this time of need and to reduce the magnitude of the cuts in state services that will be required to balance the state budget.

Steven Aldrich
Clerk of the Economic Justice Working Group
Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy
Ways & Means

311 J.A. Cherberg Bldg., P.O. Box 40482, Olympia, WA 98504-0482
Telephone: 360-786-7715 / Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000
Committee Members

Senator / Room / Phone

Prentice, Margarita (D) Chair JAC 303    (360) 786-7616
Fraser, Karen (D) Vice Chair, Capital Budget Chair     LEG 404   (360) 786-7642
Tom, Rodney (D) Vice Chair, Operating Budget     JAC 220   (360) 786-7694
Zarelli, Joseph (R) *     INB 204 (360) 786-7634
Brandland, Dale (R)     INB 203 (360) 786-7682
Carrell, Mike (R)     INB 102    (360) 786-7654
Fairley, Darlene (D)     JAC 227    (360) 786-7662
Hewitt, Mike (R)     LEG 314    (360) 786-7630
Hobbs, Steve (D)     JAC 213    (360) 786-7686
Honeyford, Jim (R)     INB 107    (360) 786-7684
Keiser, Karen (D)     JAC 224    (360) 786-7664
Kline, Adam (D)     JAC 223    (360) 786-7688
Kohl-Welles, Jeanne (D)    JAC 219    (360) 786-7670
McDermott, Joe (D)    JAC 230    (360) 786-7667
Murray, Ed (D)    JAC 215    (360) 786-7628
Oemig, Eric (D)    LEG 416    (360) 786-7672
Parlette, Linda Evans (R)    LEG 316    (360) 786-7622
Pflug, Cheryl (R)    LEG 415    (360) 786-7608
Pridemore, Craig (D)    JAC 212    (360) 786-7696
Regala, Debbie (D)    JAC 233    (360) 786-7652
Rockefeller, Phil (D)    JAC 218    (360) 786-7644
Schoesler, Mark (R)    INB 110    (360) 786-7620
*Ranking Minority Member  

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