Gov. Chris Gregoire encountered a number of voters this morning who said they like her idea for raising the sales tax by a half-cent but wished she was pushing for a larger amount.
In a telephone forum organized by the AARP, several callers told Gregoire they’d prefer a one-cent hike if it would prevent more of the nearly $2 billion in spending cuts she’s proposed to erase a budget shortfall.
Gregoire is pushing a temporary half-cent increase in the sales tax to “buy back” $494 million in cuts to education, human services and public safety programs.
“Why in the hell, excuse me. Why don’t we go to a penny,” said a woman who identified herself as Evelyn from Raymond.
“I’m with you in spirit,” Gregoire responded, adding she’d “love to go to a penny” but it’s too politically difficult.
“Some of you are making me feel like a cheapskate,” Gregoire told a reported 17,000 people participating in the telephonic town hall. “There are legislators who are very reticent to even vote to send it to the ballot. They need to hear from you.”