Washington state residents are in for a heap of trouble if Governor Christine Gregoire has her way when it comes to balancing the state's budget. To remedy their budget shortfall, Governor Gregoire has proposed this week to slash valuable state services, and has expressed no interest whatsoever in increasing any taxes. $6 billion worth of cuts in children's health care, unemployment benefits, education, and other key services have been put on the chopping block. The Washington Times reports that some of the Governor's cuts would even "violate voter-approved initiatives and previously negotiated labor contracts."
Thankfully, the Washington-based Economic Opportunity Institute presented more responsible ideas this week that add a much-needed progressive voice to the otherwise bleak landscape. Among their proposals are a variety of expansions in the state's sales tax base, a tax on high-income earners, and a tax on oil companies' profits.
Along similar lines, as Florida's budget situation continues to worsen, Republican legislative leaders have announced a special January session to deal with a $2.3 billion budget deficit for the current year. Options on the table include spending cuts and raiding trust funds -- but tax hikes have been explicitly ruled out by legislative leaders. Democratic lawmakers are showing renewed interest in hiking the state's cigarette tax -- even though the projected yield of such a hike has fallen dramatically in the last year. One editorial observer points out that avoiding sensible tax-raising solutions amounts to "eating the seed corn."