Writings and observations

People don’t like tax increases. Pretty nobody does, not even those on the left accused of being in love with them – they have to pay taxes too.

So this quote from Washington Governor Chris Gregoire in a Seattle Times story about potential tax increases – something the governor has opposed in this cycle up to now, but now accepts on the table – jumped out:

“I’ve told them, ‘Come on in and convince me that’s the right thing to do and that people will support it.’ At some point the people, I assume, don’t want us to take any more cuts.”

Indeed: At some point presumably, tax increases, however unpalatable, may become acceptable. And where is that point?

On one side, Oregon may find out in January when voters decide whether to keep the small-scale tax increases (paid by only a relative few Oregonians, to be sure) imposed in the last session. And that will be a fight.

On another side, Idahoans may find out just what happens when cuts go deep enough. A number of agencies are scheduled to see holdback cuts of 7.5%, and a few much more than that; after several years of tightening, there’s real questioning among a number of legislators – yes, conservative Republican legislators (heard from some of them yesterday on this) whether some of those agency functions can even be properly continued.

Where’s the break line? We may be about to find out. And Washington looks to be in this upcoming session, right on the edge. At present, the state Senate majority looks to be in favor of putting increases on the table, the House seems reluctant, and Gregoire is open to discussion. Keep watch on this.

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