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Is Extending Temporary Taxes the Same as ‘Raising Taxes’? Washington Voters Are Split

Washington voters split on Gov. Inslee's definition of temporary tax
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Gov. Jay Inslee raised eyebrows when just hours after his inauguration he said extending temporary taxes was not a tax increase.

The Tacoma News Tribune reports veteran pollster Stewart Elway was commissioned by the Washington Association of Realtors to poll citizens about proposed extensions of what were supposed to be temporary taxes.

The Realtors object to a possible extension of the Business and Occupation Tax raised in 2010, along with some other hikes. These taxes, designed to help Washington erase a billion-dollar deficit, were supposed to end this June.

Elway found Washington voters were amazingly split on the matter. Some 50 percent of Eastern Washington residents believe extending a temporary tax IS an increase, while on average, only about 39 percent of West Siders felt so.

Inslee did not endorse proposals to extend the taxes, but he said they are not tax increases because they do not increase taxes. However, the new Washington state budget, due to take effect in July, does NOT count these temporary taxes as part of projected revenue. Therefore, under state law, they would be considered a tax increase.

As one commenter on the News-Tribune website put it,“So Inslee thinks if you take out a 3-year car loan, that the bank can tell you you have to keep paying after three years? He needs a dictionary to look up ‘temporary.’”

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