• Democrats submit Washington state budget plan to fully fund education

    By: Essex Porter

    Updated:

    Both Democrats and Republicans in the Washington State Legislature want to raise your taxes to pay for education. The difference is in what taxes they would raise.

    House Democrats released a $44.7 billion, 2- year Washington state budget proposal today. It’s about $1 billion more than Senate Republicans proposed last week.

    “I don't want other families to struggle like we have,” said Juliana Johnson. She’s a mother of four who has had children in the state’s early learning program and Working Connections day care. “Our state should be continually moving forward.”

    The Democratic budget includes an additional 1.8 billion dollars for the State Supreme Court's order to fully fund education. That’s roughly the same amount that is in the Senate Republican budget, which was released last week.

    Democrats want some of the money to come from a new capital gains tax on the sale of assets such as stocks and bonds.

    There would be a 7 percent tax on profits from the sales. The first $50 per couple would be exempt. Democrats say only the 50,000 wealthiest Washingtonians would pay the tax.

    There would be exemptions, including primary homes, retirement accounts and agricultural land and livestock.

    Republicans reject it.

    “This is an income tax. We believe it is not consistent with the either the constitution or the will of the people,” said Senate budget leader John Braun, of Centralia.

    “This is not an income tax, this is an excise tax. This is on the sale of stocks and bonds,” said Democrat Kristin Lytton, chair of the House Finance Committee.

    Democrats would also extend the sales tax to bottled water. And they would force out-of-state online companies to collect the sales tax when they sell to customers in Washington state.

    Republicans rejected brand-new taxes and chose higher property taxes instead.

    They believe their plan meets the state Supreme Court order to pay for education equally throughout the state.

    Now the two sides will negotiate, with the aim of agreeing on a budget before the regular session of the Legislature ends on April 23.

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