Democrats’ far-left supporters are not happy with the fact that the state capital gains income tax is off the table. Washington United for FAIR Revenue—a coalition of the who’s who of far-left organizations and labor unions—is particularly upset over the latest development in the budget negotiation process. So much so, that it has taken to telling blatant lies as an expression of its disapproval.
Yesterday, FAIR issued a press release urging state Senate budget negotiators to “put a modest capital gains tax back on the table and close millions of dollars of wasteful tax loopholes to solve the state’s budget crisis and avoid a state government shutdown.” It goes on to claim that Republicans are protecting “special tax breaks for the wealthiest residents and large corporations at the expense of basic services our communities need.” The basic services include public schools and higher education.
First, the state is not in a “budget crisis.” The latest revenue forecast revealed lawmakers could count on another $400 million without raising taxes a dime. That means lawmakers have $3.2 billion (a whopping 9.2% increase) more in tax revenue than they had last time they wrote the state budget. As Senate Republicans proved and House Democrats finally acknowledged, that’s more than enough to meet all the state’s funding needs.
Indeed, the only people still clamoring for an income tax are people like Ruth Lipscomb, a board member of the Progress Alliance of WA, the secretive Democrat multi-millionaire’s club that funds all the left-wing groups like FUSE Washington, Win/Win, Washington Budget and Policy Center, etc.—all of which demand higher taxes and bigger government.
Second, to claim that Republicans are protecting special tax breaks is more than a little ridiculous. Since 2005, 140 bills relating to tax incentives have passed out of the state Legislature and been signed into law. The 140 bills included a total of 172 new or amended tax incentives. And, of those 140 bills, Democrat legislators were the prime sponsors of 120 of them (a whopping 86 percent). Adding to the Democrats’ lion’s share of responsibility is the fact that a Democrat governor has signed and approved every “tax loophole” for the last 30 years.
Essentially, FAIR is blaming Republicans for policies Democrats created over the last generation. And, adding insult to injury, it is claiming Republicans are protecting these policies at the expense of communities’ needs.
That claim leads to the third point: Republicans’ budget actually provide more money for both public schools and higher education than Democrats’ budget does. In fact, in the case of higher education, Democrats’ so-called tuition freeze would unfreeze in the second year of the biennia if their accompanying tax bill is not also passed. Additionally, in a blatant display of political posturing, Democrats have snubbed Republicans’ proposal to lower college tuition rates.