As forecast adds $400 million, Padden joins call for tax relief for small business

A positive tax-revenue forecast is leading three state senators to call for a tax cut, saying this is the time for relief, not more spending.

State Sens. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, and Michael Padden, R-Spokane Valley, are calling for a reduction in business and occupations taxes.

Their plan would use half of the $400 million increase projected by the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council Monday. A rebounding state economy Monday prompted state economic forecasters to boost their projections of state tax revenue, continuing a general trend of economic good news since the beginning of the year. Fast-rising economic activity has added more than $650 million in expected tax revenue since lawmakers convened their regular legislative session in January.

“There will be pressure in Olympia to spend all of this new increase in tax dollars, and we must resist that temptation,” Ericksen said.

“Now is the time to provide tax relief to small businesses. We should use half of this windfall to reduce B&O taxes by $200 million.”

Ericksen said the Senate budget already increases spending by 12 percent, and he said that is enough. Tax relief for small businesses will help expand and grow the economy, create jobs and help local economies, he said.

Baumgartner said, “Instead of funding Olympia’s insatiable appetite for spending, we should give half of the revenue increase back to small business so that we can generate even more economic growth.”