April 1, 2019

Newspaper ads in Spokane, Port Angeles, Longview and Vancouver tell lawmakers: $5.6 billion in rising tax revenue is enough

By: Brian Mittge   Comments: 0
This full-page ad appeared in the Sunday edition of The Spokesman-Review on March 31. Similar ads have been appearing in newspapers across the state, questioning the need for additional taxes at a time when the state's available revenue is growing quickly.

AWB and local chambers of commerce joined forces again this weekend to publish a series of newspaper ads questioning the need for new and higher taxes at a time when the state budget continues to grow at a significant rate. The ads note that tax revenues are already up by $5.6 billion, and yet lawmakers are calling for an additional $1.4 billion in new and higher taxes.

Two weeks ago, when AWB and local chambers ran similar full-page ads about the major increases in state tax collections, a big red arrow pointed upward with the label of $4 billion. That was how much more the state had to spend simply from increasing tax revenue due to the booming economy.

This ad appeared in the Sunday edition of The Columbian.

On Sunday, an updated version of the ad appeared in newspapers throughout the state. A black marker crossed out $4 billion and replaced it $5.6 billion — the additional revenue lawmakers have to budget following the latest state revenue forecast.

The ads appeared in nearly every corner of the state.

In Spokane, the full-page ad in The Spokesman-Review included language shared by several of the ads: "State lawmakers have $5,600,000,000 more tax dollars to spend on the next budget. So why are lawmakers asking for $1,400,000,000 in new taxes?"

In Vancouver, a full-page ad in The Columbian showed the city's downtown core and proclaims, "Local shops make Vancouver great. So why does Olympia want to make it cheaper to buy in Oregon by raising taxes on small businesses here?"

In Longview, The Daily News published an ad bearing the logos of AWB, the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce, as well as more than a half dozen employers and community leaders.

And in Port Angeles, situated in a corner of the state with stubbornly high unemployment, the Peninsula Daily News ran a full-page ad with the logos of AWB and the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce and local employers ranging from a lumber trading firm to a networking firm and a local barbecue pub.

The editorial boards of The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver and Walla Walla Union-Bulletin have reached similar conclusions. Last week, The Columbian published an editorial calling for fiscal prudence and discipline and concluding that: "State government has all the money it needs to effectively serve the people of Washington."

A week earlier, the Union-Bulletin concluded there is no need for the Legislature to raise taxes.

"We strongly believe lawmakers and the governor should make every effort to write a no-new taxes budget. Spend only what is available," the paper wrote, "or even a bit less."