Governor Gregoire today proposed a temporary, half-cent increase in the sales tax to forestall the worst of budget cuts that would come in order to close a $2 billion budget gap. THe increase would be in place for three years. She is recommending a referendum to voters that would occur in March.
She said that in briefings with House and Senate Democrats and Republicans she has received some level of acknowledgement that new revenue is required to avoid the most undesirable cuts.
She said the increase would generate the following:
- $42 million for home care for developmentally disabled and senior citizens
- $41 million for public safety, including parole services
- $411 million for education, including support for higher education and levy equalization
The state sales tax hasn’t been increased since 1983, during the last significant state recession.
What about budget cuts? The governor proposed 17% cuts to each baccalaureate institution as expected. For CWU (http://www.ofm.wa.gov/budget12/recsum/375.pdf) the cut would be $5.9 million, but remember this is a proposal only. It will absolutely set the stage of legislative debates, but the ultimate solution will need 50 votes in the state House, 25 in the Senate, and the Governor’s signature.