Washington Senate Democrats Target Tax Exemptions To Fund Schools

By Austin Jenkins

Minority Democrats in the Washington Senate want to tax oil refineries, bottled water prescription drug resellers and out-of-state shoppers. The proposal releasedTuesday could generate $100M a year for public schools.

Senate Democrats may be in the minority. But that isn’t stopping them from targeting what they call “unproductive” tax “loopholes.” They would earmark the revenue to reduce elementary school class size, pay for all day kindergarten and give teachers a cost of living increase. Senator Andy Billig acknowledged that in 2010 Washington voters repealed taxes on bottled water as well as candy and soda. But he thinks voters might reconsider now.

Andy Billig: “Why are we incentivizing people to buy bottled water instead of using the funds from that tax loophole to fund education for the future of our children and our state?

The Washington legislature is under a Supreme Court order to fully fund basic education by 2018. Democratic Governor Jay Inslee also recently proposed to close tax exemptions to fund schools. Legislative Republicans have said education funding should come from existing streams of revenue.

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