Opinion Editorial: Holding the line on current tax proposals – it’s about fiscal responsibility

It is an honor to represent you and the citizens of the 16th District here in Olympia. One of my main priorities is fiscal responsibility.

In the latest revenue forecast, projected state revenue has increased by approximately $1 billion. Economic growth continues. This prosperity happened without raising taxes. This is fiscal responsibility at its best. By working together, we can achieve positive fiscal results.

This session, the tone has changed in Olympia. With the Democrats in control of both chambers, and in the governor’s office, the “let’s work together” mentality has lost its spark. Rather than continuing to live within our means, it seems new taxes are the “flavor of the day.”

Some of the current tax proposals include:

  • A carbon/energy tax. It is no secret the governor is attempting to place a tax on carbon in Washington state, as part of his aggressive climate change agenda. The reason this tax is significant to the 16th District is the impact it would have on the price of a tank of gas, electricity to fuel your home or business, the groceries and food you provide your family, and manufacturing – to list a few. Under his proposal, gas prices would increase by at least 20 cents per gallon. Washington is already one of the leading states with the highest gas tax. Now, the governor wants to increase one tax by adding yet another. There are better, more effective ways to address the carbon issue. Asking the taxpayers of this state to open their wallets even further isn’t the solution.
  • A tax on sugary drinks. The City of Seattle recently enacted a heavy tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Seattle’s tax is 1.75 cents per ounce. Mathematically, this means a 35-pack of soda priced at $10.99 now costs an average of $18.34.  That’s almost double the price. Why is a Seattle-specific tax even important to the 16th District? A bill has been introduced this session that would impose a similar “soda tax” statewide. The measure on the table would cost even more than the tax currently collected in Seattle. Whenever the government attempts to parent, rather than govern, it ends badly.
  • Capital gains tax. For several sessions, the governor, and the now majority party, have tried to push forward a tax on capital gains. This is the starting point for a statewide income tax. The voters of Washington have said “no” to an income tax nine times! The line needs to be held on implementing these types of taxes.
  • Changes to the approval process on taxes. While this isn’t a tax directly on the citizens, it does affect our voice on your behalf. Right out of the starting gate this session, the majority party in the Senate voted to reverse the two-thirds requirement to pass any tax bills. This means it only takes a simple majority vote to raise taxes. Fiscal responsibility requires working together. This is not how we work together.

As your voice here in Olympia, I will continue to work on commonsense fiscal solutions with my colleagues across the aisle to ensure the work we do on behalf of the citizens of the 16th District, and the state, benefit everyone. We need to continue to work toward and maintain balance.


State Representative Bill Jenkin, 16th Legislative District
470 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7836 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000