Now that Democrats are in control of the Washington State House of Representatives, Senate and the governor’s office, “taxation” has jumped to the second-highest concern behind “education.”
Each year The Ellway Poll asks Washington voters which legislative issues they deem most important.
This year, concerns about taxes increased from 16 percent to 27 percent, while concerns about education dropped from 45 percent to 32.
And while the poll doesn’t specifically ask why voters are concerned about taxes, it’s a safe assumption very little of the increase comes from those worried about paying too little. Voters becoming less concerned about education makes sense in the wake of the $3.8 billion pumped into Washington schools by the Legislature last year.
However, the Washington State Supreme Court expects the lawmakers to accelerate the timeline for the wage increases of school employees. Finding another billion for this will be the central challenge during the upcoming 2018 legislative session. Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed using reserves and adding a new carbon tax to cover these costs.
In spite of growing revenue under existing taxes, some policymakers have advocated adding taxes to not increase spending and also to accomplish social engineering goals.
Examples include the sugary drink tax, global warming tax, the ammunition tax, vehicle tax, the “too rich” tax, and the inheritance tax.
The question is whether the voters see things the same way these elected leaders do, and the answer appears to be no.