Gov. Jay Inslee proposed four tax hikes last week that he wants legislators to pass in 2016. By doing so, he once again broke his promise from the 2012 campaign to veto tax increases. This has been proven, through Inslee’s repeated actions, to be a lie.
Here are the four taxes Jay Inslee wants to hike:
- End the automatic sales tax deduction for out-of-state residents
- Charge sales tax on bottled water
- End the use tax exemption on extracted fuel (except hog fuel)
- Narrow the real estate excise tax (REET) exemption
Three out of the Inslee’s four tax hike proposals have been studied recently by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC). The bipartisan committee produces reports used by the entire Legislature.
Non-resident sales tax – JLARC recommended the Legislature continue this tax exemption because it was meeting its objective. The exemption has long been seen as important to help businesses near the Oregon border compete for shoppers.
Extracted fuel – JLARC recommended legislators “review and clarify” this one. The irony of this tax hike is that it might shift fuel refiners to use more natural gas instead of recycling fuel in the refining process, which would increase total carbon emissions. This is the idea from Carbon Enemy #1 Jay Inslee? As Rep. Drew Stokesbary (R-Auburn) tweeted last week, “Just so we’re clear, taxing extracted fuel is like taxing you for compost made from your food scraps & used in your garden.”
REET – JLARC explicitly recommended this exemption be continued because it is meeting its objectives.
Bottled water – JLARC has not reviewed the bottled water exemption recently, but it’s not really necessary. After the Legislature enacted a “temporary” sales tax on bottled water in 2010, voters promptly repealed the new tax at the ballot box.
Rep. Bruce Chandler (R-Granger), the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, said in response to Inslee’s tax hike proposals, “These tax increases have either been rejected by voters in the past, like the tax on bottled water, or already reviewed by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee. The Legislature had ample opportunity to impose these new tax increases over the last few years, but after citizen input and careful scrutiny, chose not to. If the governor felt it was an emergency to add further growth to state government, the public would be better served by innovation and new ideas rather than a continuation of failed efforts of taking more from taxpayers.”