Washington's Outgoing Gov. Locke Proposes $26B Budget, New Taxes

Kelemen, Jasmina
December 2004
Bond Buyer;12/20/2004, Vol. 350 Issue 32033, p5
Trade Publication
The article reports that the outgoing Governor of Washington D.C. Gary Locke presented a $26 billion budget that puts forward nearly $600 million of new taxes, only the second time the Democrat has proposed raising general taxes since taking office in 1997. Warning that the state faces a $1.8 billion budget gap over the next two years, the governor proposed a $504 million tax on alcohol and soft drinks and 1% gross receipts tax collected from physicians that should raise $94 million. As required by law, Locke also presented a balanced budget without the new taxes, which inflicts deeper cuts in education, health care and services. Republican Governor-elect Dino Rossi opposes new taxes and has publicly said it's possible to maintain popular state services without raising taxes. Locke proposes a new tax on liquor, wine, beer and a nickel levy on soft drinks. The new tax revenue is intended to support class size reductions in public schools, greater enrollment in higher education and health care and social services for the state's disabled and lower-income residents. The proposal also cuts spending by nearly $300 million, including reductions in mental health services for non-Medicaid clients, natural resource management programs, and nursing home reimbursement rates.


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