Buck says Democrat tax bill will hurt jobs, families

Olympia, WA - 2/13/02 - A House Democrat proposal  (HB 2933) that would repeal virtually every tax exemption in the state has been characterized as a "recipe for
financial disaster" by Rep. Jim Buck. The $20 billion measure would hit
every part of Washington life from family budgets and jobs to health care
and agriculture.

"Mind-numbing is one term that comes to mind in describing the shock
many of us felt when we went through the bill which - if passed in its
entirety- would hit the citizens of Washington with the biggest tax increase
in state history," said Buck, R-Joyce. "Repealing a tax exemption is a tax
increase, no two ways about it. And that's not the way to stimulate the

The 59-page measure, introduced by Seattle Democrat Jim McIntire,
would hit employers and agriculture hard, striking another painful blow at
working families and crushing efforts of House Republicans this session to
create new job opportunities by making Washington more competitive.

"If Washington was perceived before as unfriendly to employers,
this will leave no doubt in the minds of anyone - or any company- that
locating in the state is a bad idea," said Buck. "If these tax increases are
enacted, the state would be propelled toward a financial disaster, taking
with it family-wage jobs and hobbling Washington's economic vitality.

"Small-business owners and agriculture are the backbone of the
state's economy, and at a time when we should be trying to create jobs and
sharpen the state's competitive edge, a legislator drops a bill into the
hopper that defies logic," he said. "In some rural communities, this bill
could be the death-knell for job providers and the families that depend on
those employers for their livelihoods."

Everything from intangible property and medical research to adult
family homes would be targeted by HB 2933. The proposal takes aim at
churches, day-care services, manufacturing equipment,  schools, non-profit
veterans' homes, and fraternal organizations like the American Legion and
the Eagles.

"We warned last summer that the budget wasn't sustainable, and now
those predictions have come painfully true. Our colleagues across the aisle
are having a tough time figuring out how to balance a budget with a $1.26
billion shortfall, but this desperate concoction of tax increases is the
wrong way to go," Buck added. "On Monday,  the state's chief economist said
that Washington's economy this year will remain very weak, and that
Washington will continue to lag behind the rest of the country in terms of

"That's a bleak assessment from Doctor Sohn, and it underscores the
need for the governor and the Legislature to aggressively get behind
measures that would protect jobs and encourage new investment in the state,"
he said.

Buck pointed to a series of tax breaks passed by the Legislature in
the  mid-1990s  that helped attract several high-tech companies to
Washington, including Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor. Over a three-year
period, tax cuts for manufacturers also spurred significant investments by
six major in-state firms, and hundreds of smaller existing manufacturers
moved forward with plans for upgrades and expansion.

"The last thing struggling families and employers need now is higher
taxes. That's a blueprint for busting the prospects for prosperity,
prolonging the recession, and making the state's budget problems even
worse,"said Buck. "The state collects enough money from taxpayers already.
What we need to do is focus on strengthening Washington's job climate,
making government more efficient, and setting responsible priorities for
managing the funds we have."

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