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Gov. Inslee on New Budget: ‘I Choose Education Over Tax Breaks’

Inslee wants to keep temporary taxes in place for new budget
(Photo by Jeff T. Green/Getty Images)

Saying the state cannot fund its basic education obligations, Governor Jay Inslee proposed extending several taxes set to expire in June.

Inslee introduced Thursday his Working Washington Budget Priorities calling for $1.2 billion in educational investment.  From his press release:

Inslee’s budget moves the state forward in meeting Supreme Court-mandated basic education obligations… Inslee’s plan includes funding for full-day kindergarten expansion and reducing kindergarten and first grade class sizes, early reading intervention, dropout prevention programs and more professional development opportunities for educators… Inslee also proposes adding $35 million to expand preschool opportunities.”

Inslee claims the state cannot afford this funding without extending taxes that were set to expire June 30. So Washington businesses (including doctors, lawyers and accountants) will be stuck with the .03 percent “business and occupation” tax that was supposed to be temporary. He is also pushing to extend a 50-cent-per-gallon beer tax. These were passed under Gov. Gregoire as a temporary fix to the state’s budget crisis.

He also said he plans to close “tax loopholes” — whatever those are. However, looking inside Inslee’s report, we found this paragraph:

‘he Governor is not proposing any new taxes,
and instead proposes closing certain tax breaks
and extending tax rates already in place. His plan
would leave healthy reserves totaling more than
$500 million.”

Taxes that are supposed to expire are not considered part of the next state budget. The business and occupation tax, the beer tax and others were not included in the state’s fiscal budget set to begin July 1.Like some critics have said already,  Inslee’s interpretation of taxes are quite different from reality.

While his investment in education is commendable, all the money in the world won’t do any good if there are no jobs for them because of the state’s unfriendly environment toward businesses.

We’re seeing record numbers of college graduates and trade-specialty school students not able to find jobs in their chosen field. Many are having to take low-paying service-sector jobs — if they can even find them.

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