The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 March 2005

WA Dictator Affirms Her Authority

Coup Leader Gregoire Pushes Higher Taxes, More Bullying

It's exactly the kind of attitude you'd expect from Christine Gregoire, precisely why she was unable to win last November's election without cheating (a sentiment supported by the majority of Washingtonians in several statewide surveys): she's an uncontrolable monster.

How else do you explain the number of Democrats who voted for John Kerry and Republican Dino Rossi on the same ballot?

Here she's taken office under a cloud, but that doesn't stop her at all from pushing an intensive, tax-and-spend budget. Cigarette taxes go even higher, lest any state top Washington's, encouraging even more tribal, out-of-state and British Columbian purchases.

So much for ending the death tax, Gregoire wants to ensure its future in the state, even if it disappears at the federal level. Note to David Ammons: it's a tax on death, not an "estate" tax.

You say she's cutting mid-level positions in Olympia? That doesn't even scratch the surface when you consider how government grew under Governor Locke. It was a political ploy to blunt opposition to this plan with a pre-emptive strike.

The funny flip side is that it will get Frank Blethen in a tizzy, which could lead to a sudden turn against her, by the Seattle Times.

(David Ammons- AP)

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Gov. Christine Gregoire on Monday proposed higher cigarette taxes and a new estate tax on the wealthy as she released her $25.8 billion state budget for the next two years.

In closing a projected spending gap of $1.6 billion, the rookie Democratic governor relies heavily on spending cuts and use of the state reserves and fund shifts, but also proposes boosting taxes by $203 million.

Gregoire campaigned on a promise of no new taxes, later clarifying that she meant no general tax hikes, such as the sales, business and property taxes.

Her new proposal calls for:

-Boosting the state cigarette tax by 20 cents a pack, or $2 a carton. The tax is now $1.425 cents a pack, one of the higher rates in the country. The proposal would generate $79 million in the next two years.

-Partially restoring the state's estate tax, which was recently struck down by the state Supreme Court. Her plan would tax only estates of over $2 million and would exempt farms. The plan would raise $129 million.

In remarks prepared for her budget news conference at the Capitol, the governor said the state could probably skate by without the additional revenue, but that, "Getting by is not good enough."

Gregoire said her proposal "gets us out of the rut that the national recession left us in. In government, there's a feeling that if we just hunker down and make do with the status quo, we can get by. Trouble is, the status quo kills you. You might think you're holding your own but you're not.


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