House budget to be released at end of week; expect tax discussion to follow

As we noted earlier, the House has scheduled a budget hearing for Friday afternoon. The introduction of the House spending plan moves the Legislature closer to session’s end. One question that may not be answered Friday is how the House will pay for proposed expenditures.

Senate leadership has said that a full budget proposal must include revenues

We’ll be happy to debate tax increases if the House is willing to pass them. But as our budget chairman, Andy Hill, observes, an unbalanced spending proposal doesn’t count. Our side won’t play with funny money, and we expect the same from the other team.

Our earlier post addressed carbon taxes and cap-and-trade. AWB recently conducted a webinar with state Treasurer Jim McIntire. It’s worth watching. Among McIntire’s comments, as reported by AWB Fast Facts.

He offered to support a constitutional supermajority requirement for tax changes as part of a grand bargain that included a flat-rate state income tax. A former university economist, McIntire said an income tax can lead to lower business taxes and an overall fairer tax system.

Finally, this post from the progressive Washington Budget and Policy Center makes a relevant point. 

Washington has one of the more stable state tax systems in the nation, according to data from The Pew Charitable Trusts. All state tax systems rise and fall in concert with the economy to some extent. Revenue collections under Washington state’s current tax system swung 5.3 percentage points above or below their average growth trend between 2004 and 2013 … Thirty states had more volatile tax systems than Washington.

That, of course, doesn’t necessarily support the contention that it makes sense to add a new, volatile tax to the mix.

We’ll hear a lot more about all this over the coming weeks. Our focus: tax policy changes, if any, should promote economic vitality and increased opportunity for all Washingtonians.