The house ways and means committee voted 15-11 this afternoon to vote out Rep. Laurie Jinkins' (D-27, Tacoma) legislation to close two tax exemptions: 1) the controversial bank tax break on interest earned over $100,000 on first-time mortgages and 2) the retail sales tax exemption for out-of-state shoppers. The legislation would raise an estimated $143 million ($83 million in B&O tax revenue and $60 million in sales tax) to fund K-3 class size reductions during the 2011-2013 biennium. [pullquote]Perhaps the fact that Bailey received $1,600 from the Washington Bankers Association, $800 from Bank of America, $1,600 from Liberty Mutual, $500 from Chase, $500 from Wells Fargo, and $200 from the Washington Mortgage Lenders Association in 2010 alone, could explain her tone-deaf remarks.[/pullquote]
Before the committee passed out the legislation today, Rep. Barbara Bailey (R-10, Oak Harbor) called the legislation a "drastic action" that would constitute one more of the "increases that continue to pile on to our financial industry in a time when our financial industry is struggling." Hmm.
Perhaps the fact that Bailey received $1600 from the Washington Banker's Association, $800 from Bank of America, $1600 from Liberty Mutual, $500 from Chase, $500 from Wells Fargo, and $200 from the Washington Mortgage Lenders Association in 2010 alone, could explain her tone-deaf remarks. (Jinkins got $800 from the Washington Bankers Association and $250 from the Community Bankers of Washington).
Bailey argued that local banks won't be able to provide all the mortgages necessary and that removing the tax exemption would raise mortgage rates all together, making it harder for consumers to get loans. She noted that there were other ways to raise money for K-3 class size reduction, but that "this is really not the way to do it."
Rep. Pat Sullivan (D-47, Auburn) argued the opposite, citing testimony that showed steady mortgage rates across the country even in areas that tax banks.
The bill will now go to the house floor, where it's not likely to pass (it needs a two-thirds majority), but the Democrats will certainly make the most of the Republican naysayers for supporting banks instead of kids.
Today's Loser: The Anti-Tunnel Referendum Campaign
City campaign finance reports show that Protect Seattle Now, the campaign that's trying to undo the city council's agreements with the state green-lighting the deep bore tunnel, only raised $779 last month. And with cash on hand of a little more than $1,000 and liabilities at around $700, their balance is $359.
Their opponents, bankrolled by the chamber and the Downtown Seattle Association, raised nearly $18,000 in April with a balance of $2,400.