Note: this report first aired on Public Radio's Northwest News Network.
In a major development in the Washington Legislature, majority Democrats in the Senate are backing off a plan to put a tax measure on the November ballot. That’s because of a new poll that shows the public’s appetite for taxes is lukewarm at best.
The poll was commissioned by hospitals and other health care groups. It finds that more than 50 percent of Washington voters might go for a temporary sales tax increase to prevent cuts to health care. But support is soft and not enough to guarantee success at the polls this fall. As a result, Senate Democrats have met and decided not to move forward with a sales tax, or alternatively an income tax proposal this year.
A spokesman for the Washington State Senate Democrats says, “the caucus decided that any revenue package would likely be perceived by the public as making the economic recession worse, so there’s no support for sending a ballot measure to the public to raise taxes.”
The sudden turnaround came on the same day House Democrats held a hearing on a proposal to ask voters to raise Washington’s sales tax by three-tenths-of-one-percent for health care. The sponsor of that proposal, Seattle Rep. Eric Pettigrew, says despite the new poll he plans to continue pushing his measure in the House.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!