Washington Governor Makes Another Push To Close Tax Exemptions

By Austin Jenkins

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is making another push for lawmakers to close tax exemptions to fund education. The Democrat made his pitch Tuesday. But there’s no indication the mostly Republican majority in the Washington Senate can be persuaded.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee at a news conference calls for the closure of seven tax exemptions to generate more money for schools. Photo by Austin Jenkins.Inslee first proposed closing several tax exemptions last March. His goal then was to raise about $1B for schools. In the end, the legislature eliminated one exemption: for local telephone service. Now Inslee is dusting off his old list.

Jay Inslee: “Under my plan we would close seven current tax breaks which will generate more than $200M per year in new funding.”

They include: eliminating the sales tax exemption for shoppers from Oregon and other no-sales-tax states. Inslee would also repeal the sales tax exemption for bottled water. Republican Andy Hill chairs the Senate budget committee. He says tax breaks are hard to close – especially in a 60-day, election year session.

Andy Hill: “It has to be done very carefully, very thoughtfully and that’s something that’s very hard to do in a short session.”

The Washington Supreme Court has imposed an April 30th deadline for the legislature and governor to come up with a plan to fully fund public school by 2018.

Photo: Washington Governor Jay Inslee at a news conference calls for the closure of seven tax exemptions to generate more money for schools. Photo by Austin Jenkins.

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