Over $27 billion.
That’s how much more money the taxpayers will have to pay in higher taxes because of this year’s legislative session. You’ve always known that Olympia has an insatiable tax appetite but legislators went big-time hog wild this year:
New payroll taxes (HB 1087): $8,036,110,541
New property taxes (SB 5313): $8,661,000,000
New fuel taxes (SB 5993): $2,760,000,000
New taxes on bank customers (HB 2167): $1,035,700,000
New property sales taxes (SB 5998): $1,747,300,000
New taxes on border business customers (SB 5997): $311,759,000
New taxes on travel agent customers (SB 6004): $30,100,000
New taxes on vaping customers (HB 1873): $207,135,000
New taxes on bank customers (SB 6016): $367,900,000
New taxes on online buyers (SB 5581): $1,039,261,000
New taxes on service business customers (SB 2158): $3,097,600,000
New property taxes (SB 5313): $8,661,000,000
That’s right: $27 billion.
To put that in perspective, from 2012-2018, tax increases imposed by Olympia cost over $24 billion. So this year’s $27 billion is more than the last six legislative sessions combined.
And the Legislature did that at a time of record revenues and massive $3.5 billion tax surplus.
Worse, lawmakers waited until the last day of the legislative session to minimize public awareness and media attention.
It’s completely unacceptable.
There’s no decision that government makes that has a greater impact on our lives than when it takes more of our money.
Here’s three ways you can tell Olympia you’re taxed out:
Vote yes on Initiative 976 in November. The voters have repeatedly passed initiatives to set vehicle license registration and renewal fees at $30 per year. Those previous voter-approved initiatives have kept vehicle taxes down for over a decade. But in recent years, politicians have been jacking them back up again. If we don’t pass I-976 now, vehicle taxes are gonna keep going up, especially now that they’re pushing for new pay-per-mile taxes on top of all the other taxes we already pay (which the Union-Bulletin supports). Enough is enough.
Help us qualify I-1082, the Term Limits on Taxes Initiative. It expires this year’s new taxes and expires future new taxes after one year. There’s nothing in the state Constitution that requires tax increases to last forever. I-1082 puts a time limit on tax increases when the Legislature takes our money without asking permission (if Olympia puts it on the ballot, then there is no time limit). It’s time to put those dirty-dog politicians on a short leash.
All of this year’s tax increases are going to be described in the General Election Voters’ Pamphlet. Why? Because voters in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2015 passed tax initiatives requiring this: whenever the Legislature creates a new tax without asking the voters’ permission, there’s a tax advisory vote on it. In the Voters’ Pamphlet, there’s two pages that list each tax increase, how much it’ll cost us, how each legislator voted on it, and each legislator’s office phone number and office email address. This is invaluable information that benefits the voters. On the actual ballot, the government is required to print a short description of each tax increase and voters get to vote on each one. You’re asked if you believe the tax increase should be repealed or maintained. You get to register your opinion on each one.
Olympia imposed 12 new taxes this year so there will be 12 tax advisory votes on the fall ballot.
In response to whiners like the Union-Bulletin that are complaining about the large number of tax advisory votes, blame the Legislature. Tax advisory votes only happen when Olympia takes our money without asking permission. They did that 12 times.
As for the Union-Bulletin’s argument that since politicians are likely to ignore the voters’ opinions, why should we allow voters to express their opinions and vote in the first place? Wow. Just wow. Under this absurd logic, why allow newspaper editorials? Or public hearings on bills? Or elections for that matter?
As for the “cost” of tax advisory votes (extra ink for the ballot and voters’ pamphlet), Olympia just took $27 billion from the taxpayers! As Seattle Times’ columnist Bruce Ramsey wrote: “It works out to 3 cents per citizen who voted ... and reaches every voter in the state. To argue that eliminating this expenditure is protecting the taxpayers is baldly disingenuous.”
You have three ways to tell Olympia you’re taxed out: Vote yes on I-976 and bring back our $30 license tabs, help us qualify Initiative 1082 so voters can term limit this year’s tax increases, and vote “repeal” on this year’s 12 tax advisory votes.
Politicians will never limit taxes – so we gotta do it ourselves.