Believing that desperate times call for immediate and decisive action, Sen. Paull Shin is proposing a bill that would give voters the ability to approve a temporary increase in the states sales tax of 1 percent.
"Every day we wait brings us closer to catastrophe, and we don't have time for a wait-and-see attitude," said Shin, D-Edmonds. "The need is there, and we should get it done now. It's time to let the voters have their say."
Shin’s bill, SB 5972, would increases the state sales and use tax by 1 percent from June 1, 2012, to June 30, 2015. The bill would also include provisions to roll back the increase progressively as the state’s unemployment rate drops to back toward pre-recession levels.
The bill bears many similarities to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed revenue package, which would send a temporary 0.5 percent sales tax increase to the voters early in 2012. Proceeds from the Governor’s proposal would be used to “buy back” proposed cuts made by the Legislature to close a $1.4 billion shortfall in the 2011-13 biennial budget. Last week, Shin applauded the governor for her actions, but suggested that the need is there for more revenue to save programs assisting the most vulnerable residents of Washington.
“A 1 percent increase in our sales tax would raise over $1 billion,” he said. “I believe that revenue, combined with the cuts my colleagues and I have made and will make, represents a more balanced approach to our budget. If we are going raise revenue, let’s make it count. It’s time we got serious about education, public safety and social services.”
A recent poll indicates that many Washington residents may be warming to such an opinion. Elway Research, Inc. found that 43 percent of those polled would be “certainly willing” to support the governor’s plan, while 21 percent said they were “probably willing.”
If approved by the Legislature, SB 5972 would go to the voters in a statewide special election on March 13, 2012.
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For more information: Ian Cope, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7535
For interviews: Sen. Paull Shin, District Office, 360-786-7640