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Study: Washington House Budget Proposal Could Kill 9,800 Jobs

Much unfinished business in Olympia
(houserepublicans.wa.gov)

If the House budget proposal is approved when the Legislature begins its extended session May 13,  there could be a laundry list of new taxes.

The Washington Policy Center, a non-profit, non-partisan group, has released a study of what the House budget proposal could do to Washington state’s economy.

Because of their inability to agree on a budget, the House, Senate and Gov. Jay Inslee will be back in Olympia next week to finish their business. The Washington Policy Center has produced a study with help from the prestigious Beacon Hill Institute showing how some 9,800 private sector jobs could be lost under the House proposals.

The Democrat-contolled House’s plan contains at least 16 new taxes that would be created by repealing existing tax breaks for a wide variety of industries.

Much criticism has been leveled against both the House and Gov. Inslee, who campaigned on a platform of no new taxes. Many legislators don’t consider repealing tax breaks or allowing them to expire “new,” when in reality, they will cost citizens and business owners more money. In the House plan, at least 16 different exemptions or breaks would be repealed or cut.

Some of the “new” taxes included in the House plan:

  • Repeal the exemption on bottled water tax (the one voters shot down): $52 million
  • Repeal exemption on sales tax for non-residents: $64 million
  • Repeal Business and Occupation (B&O) preferred rate for resellers of prescription drugs (pharmacies) and insurance agents: $75 million
  • Extend the Gregoire-era “temporary” 0.3% B&O surcharge on businesses: $534 million

According to the extensive research done by Washington Policy Center, the $1.1 billion gained from these repeals would be used to create 5,236 government-sector jobs in 2014. But that would be offset by the estimated loss of 9,800 private-sector jobs. The net result from this plan would be an overall loss of 4,564 jobs next year.

Not only would numerous private-sector jobs be eliminated, but thousands of other jobs would be shifted from the private to public sector, creating even bigger tax burdens.

The Center believes Inslee, who favors the House plan, was earnest in his quest to boost the economy and get people back to working. However, they believe he mistakenly believes it can be done by increasing the size of government.

 

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