Gov. Chris Gregroire has delivered legislation to raise $835 million in new revenue to Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, including one to ask voters to increase the sales tax by a half-cent.
Three bills arrived at the offices of the legislative leaders late Monday. As of this morning, none of them had been formally introduced. Drafts of the legislation are attached. The bills draw from the list of revenue alternatives Gregoire gave lawmakers last month.
One bill is the referendum for the temporary increase in the sales tax statewide. It calls for voters to consider the hike in a special election March 13. If approved, the half-cent increase would be in place from July 2012 to June 30, 2015.
An increase would generate an estimated $494 million this biennium. The legislations details the spending of those dollars on preventing a shortening of the school year, cuts in levy equalization payments and the buy-back of cuts in human service and public safety programs.
The second bill contains a number of changes in existing law which could generate up to $59 million for this budget and can be approved with a simple majority vote in the House and Senate.
The third bill eliminates tax breaks and hikes some existing taxes in order to raise $282 million in the remainder of this biennium. It includes taxing the windfall profits of oil compaines, repealing the sales tax exemption for nonresidents and increasing the cigarette tax by a quarter.