The Washington Senate has approved a tax package that raises $890 million over the next 16 months and is centered on a temporary three-tenths-of-a-cent sales tax increase.
The main measure passed Sunday on a 25-23 vote, with six Democrats crossing the aisle to vote against it. A bill to add an extra $1-per-pack cigarette tax, bringing the state an extra $86 million, passed on a 29-19 vote. Once the House passes its proposed revenue plan, both chambers will go into final budget negotiations.
The sales tax increase approved by the Senate, to expire in 2013, is worth about $313 million through 2011, and includes a rebate for lower-income people. The sales tax increase is expected to bring an additional $614 million between 2011 and 2013.
The measure also increases taxes on several kinds of service businesses, raising about $170 million through 2011. Another $30 million would come from charging sales tax on bottled water. It also repeals a sales-tax break to some companies based outside Washington, following the state’s loss in a recent court case that cost the state about $118 million.
Lawmakers are racing to patch a $2.8 billion budget deficit before the legislative session ends on Thursday. The House and Senate will now have to work out differences in their budget blueprints and settle on a tax package to help pay for it all.
If lawmakers are unable to finish their work on time, Gov. Christine Gregoire could be asked to call the Legislature into a special session. (AP)