Washington state legislature
3:28 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Washinton Democrats may put taxes back on the ballot

OLYMPIA, Wash. – There are fresh signals that majority Democrats in Olympia may try to send a tax measure to voters this spring. House Democrats met behind closed doors Monday.

With a special session scheduled for late November, time is of the essence. State Representative Kathy Haigh chairs the House education appropriations committee. She says getting Democrats on the same page to fill the new $2 billion hole in the budget won't happen overnight.

"We've got to go to work now, so we’re going to put together three proposals: bad, worse and something I probably can't vote for," Haigh says.

Majority Democrats seem increasingly comfortable using the r-word: revenue. House budget chair Ross Hunter – who usually waves off questions about taxes – says he hasn't found another $2 billion in cuts alone he can live with.

"I’m working on trying to come up with different strategic approaches to the problem," Hunter says. "And I haven't come up with one where I'd prefer the 'no new revenue' strategy.”

However, Hunter cautions, it's too early to know if lawmakers – much less voters – would approve higher taxes.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network