How you can join the debate
You can influence this debate. If you would like to contact members of the House Appropriations Committee, their contact information can be found here. To find and contact your state lawmakers, please visit this website. You can also call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.
The House Democrats released their 2015-17 operating budget proposal today. It would increase state spending from $33.8 billion in the 2013-15 budget cycle to $38.9 billion for 2015-17. Our budget leader, Rep. Bruce Chandler, released this statement.
As expected, the proposal also includes $1.5 billion in new tax increases, including:
- a new capital gains (income) tax;
- repealing certain tax incentives;
- an increase on the B&O service tax rate; and
- a tax on transactions from out-of-state online retailers.
A public hearing on this legislation will take place in the House Appropriations Committee Monday at 1:30 p.m. It is then expected to be voted out of the committee Tuesday, with a full vote of the House anticipated for Thursday.
The original plan was for the proposal to be released this morning and heard in committee this afternoon. We are pleased the decision was made to move the committee hearing to Monday and provide taxpayers more time to understand and respond to what is being proposed.
A proposal of this size takes time to evaluate. Our members on the House Appropriations Committee will be studying it closely over the weekend, and all of our members will receive a briefing Wednesday.
Our position on the operating budget has been consistent. We believe with nearly $3 billion in additional revenue for this upcoming budget cycle, state lawmakers should balance the budget with this natural 8 percent growth in state tax collections. New tax increases should be the last resort.
We are in the final third of the 105-day legislative session. Aside from considering hundreds of bills in the upcoming weeks, state lawmakers will need to produce operating, capital and transportation budgets. A transportation tax package and reforms are also being considered.
We are here to answer your questions, keep you informed and be a resource for you.
In your service,
Rep. Dan Kristiansen
House Republican Leader