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It’s not February 2nd yet, but you wouldn’t be alone if you thought this was a scene straight from the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day.” That’s because, once again, legislators in Olympia are proposing a rash of tax hikes to fill the growing budget gap. Despite the fact that tax hikes of the past haven’t fixed the problem, politicians seem to see no reason why more money shouldn’t be tossed at the holes in the state finances.
The proposed taxes make up the usual Nanny-state list of bogeymen: a one dollar tax hike on cigarettes, taxes on candy and gum, and even a tax hike on bottled water. State leaders seem to forget that all of these taxes will present diminishing returns as folks give up these highly taxed items, or in other cases simply go across state lines, buy on the internet, or the black market. Washington has a spending problem that tax hikes can’t fill.
TAKE ACTION and tell your legislators to oppose these tax hikes.
Washington State has a $2.6 billion budget gap. Far from making a dent in that debt, these tax hikes will hurt small businesses. In the case of cigarette tax hikes, as smokers head to Idaho and Oregon for cheaper alternatives, convenience stores could see a loss of almost 33% of their in-store sales. Not only do these tax hikes slam small businesses, they put a state-wide problem squarely on the shoulders of a minority of the population.
Whether you smoke or not, it’s clear that asking the same small group of taxpayers to keep shelling out more is unfair. In addition, these nanny-state taxes are regressive, falling heaviest on the poor who are suffering the most in this economic downturn.
The budget is everyone’s problem and to pick and choose tax hikes on unpopular segments of the population seems like the politicians in Olympia are trying to pass the buck rather than make real reforms. Even as the economy has gown south, Washington’s budget has continued to grow without any regard for the reality most citizens are living with every day.
TAKE ACTION and urge your leaders to stop tax hikes.
If Washington’s families can learn to live within their means, Olympia can too. Cutting wasteful spending should be first on the agenda, not tax hikes.