The Our Economic Future coalition, an association of 160 community, labor, social justice, and generally liberal organizations across the state, showed up in Olympia today to demand an end to the cuts-only approach to recession-era budgeting.
Specifically, the group of 500 crammed on to the steps of the Capitol, calling on the legislature to support some of the revenue ideas that got a hearing last week: Closing tax exemptions on stock and bond trading (worth about $91 million this biennium) and reauthorizing beer and business and occupation surcharge taxes that are about to expire (worth about $600 million this biennium). Unlike a proposal from Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D-1, Bothell) that would extend the beer and B&O taxes temporarily, the protesters want to make the taxes permanent.
Also in their platform: The more general reform of treating tax breaks as part of the normal budgeting process so that the legislature has to approve breaks regularly just like they approve line item expenditures.
In a press statement this afternoon, the coalition released a batch of lefty quotes like this one from Carol Dotlich, a central supply supervisor at Western State Hospital in Lakewood and president of Washington Federation of State Employees:
Four years of brutal budget cuts have shredded our safety net that keeps our communities safe and healthy. I am especially concerned about our mental health system. Look at the recent violence in Tacoma, Seattle, Newtown, and Aurora, the common denominator is the state of the assailants mental health. Inadequate spending on mental health has dire consequences for all Washingtonians so we need to fix our revenue system.