State of the State: Gov. Inslee said he looked for fair tax proposals

Jan 13, 2015, 1:54 PM | Updated: 2:32 pm

Gov. Jay Inslee gives a quick wave as he walks through the Capitol rotunda on Monday in Olympia. (A...

Gov. Jay Inslee gives a quick wave as he walks through the Capitol rotunda on Monday in Olympia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Governor Jay Inslee will join KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Gov. Jay Inslee touted his proposals to eliminate a handful of tax exemptions and to raise some taxes for the upcoming two-year budget.

In his “State of the State” address Tuesday, Inslee said he looked for revenue proposals that would address what he calls the “nation’s most unfair tax system.”

“Our lowest paid workers pay nearly 17 percent of their income in taxes while the top 1 percent pay less than 3 percent.”

Inslee presented his budget plan last month that proposed a 7 percent capital gains tax on earnings from the sale of stocks, bonds and other assets above $25,000 for individuals and $50,000 for joint filers. He also has proposed a cap-and-trade levy on carbon polluters, a 50-cent per pack cigarette tax and a tax e-cigarettes and vapor products.

The governor also has proposed eliminating several tax exemptions, including tax breaks on royalties, another for oil refineries and one on sales tax on bottled water.

Inslee said it’s time to meet a 2008 mandate to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. It sets an overall limit on heat-trapping gases similar to a program that California launched nearly three years ago.

Last month, Inslee proposed an ambitious cap-and-trade program to require the state’s largest industrial polluters to pay for every ton of carbon they release.

Inslee has made tackling climate change a key issue since taking office two years ago. He has said his plan would raise nearly $1 billion in its first year to help pay for transportation projects, education-funding requirements imposed by the state Supreme Court.

Also in his address, Inslee said lawmakers must take action on a transportation revenue package.

He said if no action is taken, dozens of bridges “will become structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.”

Lawmakers have struggled the past few years to reach agreement, with negotiations between House Democrats and Senate Republicans stalling. This year, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said a gas tax is needed, but Republicans are also pushing for reforms within the transportation system.

Inslee said he welcomes suggestions for improvement but that “the state cannot accept a continued failure to move on transportation.”

“Let’s get this done. Let’s get this done.”

Without action, he said, commute times will continue to rise and the state’s ability to move goods will be affected.

As for education, Inslee said that his proposals translate to thousands more low-income children attending high-quality preschools.

“Early learning is the best investment we can make in our future in the state of Washington.”

Citing his proposals made last month, Inslee noted that he’s seeking to fully fund class-size reductions from kindergarten through third grade, and also pay for all-day kindergarten across the state.

The state Supreme Court has held the Legislature in contempt for its lack of progress fixing the way it pays for public schools in Washington, and has given lawmakers until the end of session to comply with its orders or else face sanctions.

“Let’s get to work,” Inslee said at the end of his speech. “Go Hawks.”

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State of the State: Gov. Inslee said he looked for fair tax proposals