Democratic governor of the state of Washington is looking to raise taxes by $605 Million as a way to bridge the $2.8 Billion deficit. The tax is mainly aimed at oil products (gas), pollution, cigarettes, and 'junk food'.
The portion of the taxes aimed at oil products and pollution are being openly embraced by radical environmentalists, while businesses and job creating industry, such as refineries) are opposed to a tax that would drive up costs to operate and drive down the ability to employ workers.
The tax increases are a proposed offset to cutting social welfare programs from the state's budget - programs that are over budget and under-performing, yet hold a special place in the hearts of liberal special interests.
Gov. Gregoire and the democrats in the state legislature first must repeal the people's initiative, I-960, passed in 2007 stating that a 2/3 majority is required to raise taxes in the legislature. Luckily Republicans are successfully stalling the bill to undermine the people's will in the state house (it passed easily in the state senate).
Democrats seem to misunderstand the role of government, the dangers of state sponsored welfare, and the impact that taxation has on the economy. Gregoire and the team of WA Democrats have spent the last two decades driving up regulation and taxes to the point where businesses are leaving the region, taking essential tech and higher education jobs, and thus driving up unemployment and negatively impacting any hope of a rebound in the regional housing market. Their recipe is one of disaster.
What is the answer?
Smarter government. Leaner government. simpler government.
Reduce the size and complexity of the state government to the bare essentials - education, defense, infrastructure. Everything else is negotiable, and will be allowed only if it is a proven and cost effective program with positive societal results. We cannot simply employ the standard practice of 'budgetary increase' on an annual basis and without review. This leads to an extraordinary amount of waste! We must operate smarter!
Just like any business that is in financially hard times, it is sometimes necessary to lay off workers. Unless you are the Washington state government - in which case your idea of 'economic growth' is creating government jobs - and thus increasing government spending and state deficit! The government should evaluate the committees, the regulatory boards, and every individual on the state payroll - an audit that will examine just what and who needs to be cut. By cutting overhead costs, the leaner governmental body can operate smarter and faster.
During the downsizing of the regulatory boards it is necessary to ensure that one agency, a NECESSARY agency, is the surviving keeper of the remaining regulatory items. There is no viable reason for many boards to hold jurisdiction over the same issue or concern. Simplify the government, streamline the regulation, and create a more business friendly environment in the meantime.
Washington state is, much like many other states of the union, in a very bad place... mainly because the state governments have followed the examples of the 'other' Washington and grown/spent beyond their useful means. These trends must not simply be stopped, but reversed... returning this state to one of productivity, ingenuity, and innovative solutions for our unique habitat.