by David Ammons | September 30th, 2009
The Democratic controlled Legislature, at her insistence, closed a $9 billion budget gap this year without general tax hikes or a tax referendum to the voters. But as the state economy continues to sputter, lawmakers face another gap of $750 million to $1 billion, due to sagging tax receipts and higher demand for services. Gregoire has no particular tax proposal, and is looking for a new round of spending cuts. But she tells reporters she has signalled to legislative leaders she’s open to them making a case for fresh revenue, believing voters may be fed up with budget cuts.
Minority Republicans still suggest downsizing government a little more. Senate budgeteer Rodney Tom tells The AP that “sin taxes,” such as on tobacco, might be an option, and some lawmakers might tout a temporary sales tax surcharge. The tax package might be referred to the voters — dicey in an 2010 election year where all 98 House seats and half the Senate seats are on the ballot.