Tax Increases Will Cost Washington Businesses, Consumers $6.7 Billion Next 10 Years

July 15, 2010

The well-documented lack of transparency and suspension of voters’ rights by Washington state lawmakers in the 2010 legislative session will soak taxpayers an additional $6.7 billion over the next 10 years, according to a new study by the Washington Policy Center (WPC).

“State lawmakers raised taxes at the worst possible time – in the midst of a recession with record-high unemployment levels,” says Dann Mead Smith, WPC President. “We compiled this report to help give taxpayers a clearer picture of the details and cost for each tax increase.”

The respected think-tank’s study is comprised of 12 pages of data, which includes an explanation of each tax increase and details of how each tax increase encumbers businesses and consumers for the next 10 years.

As it has done repeatedly over the years, the Legislature suspended the protections voters passed in Initiative 960, which required transparency and a two-thirds legislative majority vote in order to hike taxes. The Legislature passed SB 6130, which suspended the voter protections against unwanted new taxes.

“The bill temporarily repeals provisions of voter-approved Initiative 960 until July 1, 2011,” states WPC’s report at “Washington voters passed Initiative 960 on November 6, 2007.”

The $800 million in new taxes include:

  • Business and Occupation taxes
  • Canceling Real Estate Excise Tax exemptions
  • Increasing taxes for Public Utility Districts
  • Hiking the 911 excise tax
  • Hospital Bed taxes
  • Bottled water, soft drink, beer, candy and gum taxes
  • Tobacco taxes including a 500 percent increase on cigars

“Lawmakers increased total state spending by 43 percent in the last five budget cycles, a period in which state population grew only 11 percent, and inflation increased just 19 percent,” states the Report on 2010 Tax Increases in Washington State.

“By repealing the non-binding advisory votes, lawmakers expected their names would not appear in the official voters’ pamphlet for 2010 next to a description of the tax increases they had enacted,” the study notes. “The purpose of this report is to provide much of the information the public would have received in the official voters’ pamphlet if the legislature had not repealed the public disclosure provisions of Initiative 960.

Well,  if you’re unsure how your legislator voted on taxes and other issues, visit:

Meantime, here’s a tip of the Biz Coach cap to Washington Policy Center for its usual fine work.

From the Coach’s Corner, you might be interested in the results of these polls:

  1. More Voters Say Washington State is Headed the Wrong Way
  2. Big Surprise in Washington State Race for U.S. Senator   

If you want to do something about these tax increases, you might also want to consider these organizations:

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.