If there is one thing you can count every legislative session is that Democrat lawmakers will, at some point, propose tax increases to grow the size of government. This year, more rational heads appear to have prevailed and Democrats from Jay Inslee to Frank Chopp to Ross Hunter were forced to take their billion-dollar-plus tax proposals (including a state capital gains income tax) off the budgetnegotiation table.
For taxpayers’ sake – and to reduce the need for multiple special legislative sessions while arguing over raising taxes – Olympia Democrats should consider some type of recovery program, something akin to Taxaholics Anonymous.
Certainly, those who have made the decision to enter into any recovery program for an addiction should be celebrated for their initiative and bravery. Would it be possible for Washington Democrats to take similar initiative for what appears to have become a seriousaddiction to raising taxes? We here at Shift took the initiative of crafting a recovery program for just that purpose.
Step 1: It all starts with facing the truth – Democrat must admit they have an addiction to raising taxes. Insisting that our state needed new taxes when revenue forecasts revealed our state has an extra $3.2 billion to spend in this budget cycle should have sent up red flags.
Step 2: Democrats must allow themselves to be comforted by the fact that there are helping hands available … if they are willing to accept help. This legislative session, that positive support came in the form of the Republican-controlled state Senate, and its balanced, no-new-taxes budget, which has finally showed the Democrats that they could resist their tax-hike cravings.
Step 3: Democrats must address the root cause of their taxaholic tendencies – their overwhelming desire for bigger government. Their destructive ideology is clear to everyone around them – Democrats want higher taxes because higher taxes mean more funding for government programs. Democrats simply want bigger government because they believe government can solve all our problems, if only it is big enough to eliminate pesky things like personal freedom.
Step 4: Democrats must surrender their bigger government addiction over to reason. They must realize that big government creates an unsustainable level of spending that chokes job-creating businesses and takes too much money out of the pockets of middle-class working families. The debate over new taxes was never about whether or not the state needed the extra revenue. Rather, it was about whether or not Democrats would be allowed to lead our state back to its spend-crazy habits and unsustainable government growth. Luckily, this time around, reason prevailed.
Step 5: Democrats must allow themselves to move beyond raising taxes as their always-preferred go-to solution for any budget situation. That means thinking beyond the short-term impacts of their tax hikes which, so often, primarily benefit their million-dollar campaign donors. It means a full realization and appreciation for how raising taxes and their big-government policies impact businesses, working families, and the state’s economic wellbeing.