The state legislature has not raised general taxes in 17 years.

At 2:30 pm on Sunday afternoon, the state Senate voted 25-23 to raise the sales tax 0.3 percent as part of its plan to meet current government expenditures while facing a $2.8 billion shortfall in the state's $30 billion budget

The sales tax increase, from 6.5 percent to 6.8 percent will raise $312 million. The plan also includes  raising $518 million by closing tax exemptions and loopholes and $838 million in program cuts.

Swing district Democrats such as southeast and eastside  King County Democrats like Sens. Claudia Kauffman (D-47) and Rodney Tom (D-48) respectively joined the Republicans in the 'Nay' column in the otherwise largely partisan vote.

And for the after-shock: A bit over an hour later, at 3:50 pm, the Senate voted for another tax increase—raising the cigarette tax from $2.025 per pack to $3.025 per pack, generating $86 million for the state's basic health plan. The vote was 29-19 with Sens. Kauffman and Tom on board for this one.

Of course, the House still has to pass its revenue package (they did pass their budget on Friday night). And both houses have to reconcile their plans. The House is not proposing a sales tax, but rather, a series of targeted taxes along with ending exemptions and loopholes.



An alternative Senate proposal for a "millionaire's tax" is still in committee. This 4.5 percent tax (on income above $200,000 for individuals; above $300,000 for heads of households; and above $400,000 for married couples) is being proposed by Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Lisa Brown (D-3) and is intended to go to a public vote in tandem with repealing the 0.3 percent sales tax that she and the majority of her caucus voted for this afternoon.