House begins talking taxes for schools, roads

Democrats in the state House today begin their much-anticipated conversations on raising billions of dollars for public schools and transportation projects.

The House Finance Committee began a hearing at 8 a.m. on a bill to generate $1.06 billion by repealing or modifying tax preferences and making permanent two tax hikes set to expire at the end of June.

Supporters of the package called it a responsible proposal to preserve social services and comply with a Supreme Court decision to boost funding of K-12 education.

“We believe this bill doesn’t disadvantage anybody,” said Nick Federici, a veteran lobbyist for providers of social services.

But opponents said it will harm owners of small businesses and professionals.

Anti-tax activist Tim Eyman of Mukilteo said lawmakers have a “truly insatiable” appetite for tax hikes. And he said voters oppose taxes and want any increase placed on a ballot for their approval.

At 1:30 p.m. today, the House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on raising the gas tax by a dime and hike car tab fees to pay for construction of new roads, bridges and ferries. You can read the bill here and find additional documents here.

As of this hour, neither tax bill is scheduled for action by their respective committees. Time is running out for action as the regular session is scheduled to end April 28.

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