The League of Education Voters has published the results of their interactive survey that gives Washingtonians the daunting task of balancing the $4.6 billion budget shortfall themselves. It turns out that what the citizens really want is just about everything the legislature will not consider doing—or can't for that matter. Closing tax loopholes is considered tantamount to raising taxes and requires a two-thirds majority.

The LEV reports that the most "popular option" is to "end the sales tax exclusion on business services" worth $1.5 billion, a tax loophole. In addition, "more than 61 percent of users raised taxes or closed tax loopholes."

Topping the survey results at 78 percent, people wanted to close the B&O mortgage deduction loophole for banks, worth $168 million. Seventy percent of survey respondents also endorsed a move to cut state employee salaries by three percent (Governor Christine Gregoire already has moved forward with an increase in employee health care contributions from 12 to 15 percent).

The least popular items to cut included the Basic Health Plan, Children's Health Program and the Disability Lifeline, which provides cash stipends to disabled people who are unable to work.

The LEV also highlights that "70 percent did not reduce funding for preschool for 4-year-olds or levy equalization for school districts." Read the full results of the survey here.



Discussions among legislators have recently begun to solve the 2011-2013 budget shortfall. The state will release its updated revenue forecast tomorrow. It's estimated that the forecast could add an additional $500 million to $1.5 billion to the already gaping budget hole.
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