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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I’d like to thank all of you who attended the town hall Sen. Doug Ericksen and I had in Nooksack on March 16. We got an earful about the direction of the state Legislature. We heard your concerns loud and clear on the gun-control proposals, vaccinations, and all the measures to increase taxes.

Please continue to contact me if you have any questions or concerns on the bills or issues before us this legislative session.

Unsustainable budget, with more taxes

House Democrats introduced their budget on Monday, and less than four hours later held a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on the massive spending plan. We voted it off the House floor on Friday on a party-line vote with all Republicans voting no.

I am very concerned about the spending levels and the reliance on new taxes. The current 2017-19 operating budget spends about $44.4 billion, while this 2019-21 proposed budget would spend about $53 billion. That is an increase of $8.6 billion or 19.4 percent over last year’s budget.

This proposal continues to grow state spending faster than the incomes of families in Whatcom County and across Washington state who are paying for it. State revenue has increased about 57 percent in five years. Has your salary grown by more than 50 percent over that timeframe?

With the strong economic growth we have experienced it is difficult to understand why Democrats in Olympia are doubling-down on their promise to raise taxes. They are proposing more than $4 billion in new tax increases over the next four years – despite the historical tax collection from hard-working taxpayers. Proposed taxes include:

  • a capital gains income tax;
  • a graduated real estate excise tax;
  • a 20 percent increase of the B&O tax on certain services;

A new capital gains income tax is the first step toward a new state income tax. It will likely be challenged in the courts as unconstitutional. It is irresponsible to propose a tax and rely on that funding in a budget when the legality of the tax is going to be tied up in court for an indefinite amount of time.

I do not need to tell you a capital gains/income tax is very unpopular with Washingtonians. Voters have rejected a statewide income tax ten times, the latest being in 2010 when the proposed income tax measure failed in all 39 counties with 64 percent voting “NO.”

The proposed B&O tax proposal would impact about 80 classifications of services – tens of thousands of businesses.

With the massive increase in spending and the proposed unnecessary taxes I could not support this budget. If you have any questions about the budget or the proposed taxes please do not hesitate to contact me.

Further reading:

Tacoma News Tribune: House Dems propose capital gains and other taxes to fund two-year state spending plan

Washington Policy Center: House Democrats propose state income tax on capital gains

The Spokesman-Review: Sen. Mark Schoesler: Inslee and friends still haven’t gotten message on carbon fees and taxes

Walla Walla Union-Bulletin: Taxpayers shouldn’t pay for Gov. Inslee’s presidential campaign security


Luanne Van Werven

State Representative Luanne Van Werven, 42nd Legislative District
466 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7980 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000