The Washington state government isn’t just nickel and diming us when it comes to a neverending conveyor belt of new and increased taxes and fees this legislative session.
They’re grabbing our money by the fistful, with no signs of easing up.
This is occurring in the middle of a pandemic, a time when our lawmakers should be working as much as possible to simply do no harm to the battered private sector. Instead, on the one hand, Gov. Jay Inslee shuts down businesses or otherwise restricts their ability to operate while, on the other, Democrats in the Legislature continue to pick their pockets to fund pet projects and proposals that should be miles from the center of discussion at a time when many Washingtonians are struggling.
I would list all of the proposed taxes here, but to do so would require the space of several columns such as this.
But let’s highlight a few that were included in a roundup of 33 — 33! — new or increased transportation taxes and fees highlighted by The Seattle Times in a story published in The Chronicle Tuesday:
• Gasoline tax, a 9.8 cents per gallon increase July 1, 2021, to raise $5.2 billion.
• Tax on new construction ($150 per $100,000 value residential, $100 per $100,000 on manufacturing, $300 per $100,000 for commercial, zero for farms and timber) starting Jan. 1, 2023, raises $803 million.
• Sales tax increase of 1% on auto parts, raises $405 million.
• A 50-cent car-tab surcharge to help fund new ferries increases to 75 cents, raises $68 million.
• Driver record-monitoring fee of 6 cents increases to 8 cents, raises $9 million.
• Fee to change your driver’s license picture, increased from $10 to $20, raises $34 million.
• Fees of 50 cents per trip on food deliveries, taxis and ride-hailing services Jan. 1, 2022, raises $711 million.
You can see the full list and accompanying story here: https://bit.ly/3aqovld.
The list is as long as it is enraging. These fees don’t center in on any one facet of our daily lives, but rather attempt to exploit everything we do from ordering food to buying auto parts in order for lawmakers to avoid having to work even remotely within their means.
Of course, Democrats will counter that all of them — and many more — are necessary to the function of government. There’s no other word to describe that assertion — it’s a lie.
And it’s going to be a painful one in this case.
The Washington Policy Center, a conservative think tank, estimates that residents of Washington will see an increase of between 30 and 50 cents per gallon of gas in 2023 if Inslee’s package of climate and gas bills are adopted and signed into law.
We already pay gas taxes of 67 cents per gallon, among the highest such fees in the United States.
The state has seen a nonstop increase in tax revenues year after year since the Great Recession. That trend survived even the squeeze of a global pandemic, with predicted shortfalls giving way to ever-improving tax returns.
Republicans in the Legislature have, as usual, done what they can to slow or prevent this onslaught of unnecessary taxation. We’re fortunate to have state Sen. John Braun and Reps. Peter Abbarno, Jim Walsh and Ed Orcutt, along with our other local lawmakers, fighting for our conservative ideals in Olympia.
Ultimately, though, they are in the legislative minority.
This fresh assault on our pocketbooks is just an extension of what has been happening in Olympia for years. Until a majority of Washington residents choose to elect lawmakers who believe in at least attempting to live within the state’s means, the state will continue demanding more money from taxpayers.
When will enough be enough?
For our state government, it appears the answer is “never.”
Chad Taylor is the publisher of The Chronicle and the owner of CT Publishing. He can be reached at email@example.com.