One hundred and fourteen days into the Legislature's work, lawmakers are holding a hearing on something that has been talked about since the beginning: eliminating tax exemptions.
Whether you call it raising taxes or closing loopholes, the idea of targeting businesses or individuals who get special tax treatment has been pushed by protesters, unions and many Democratic lawmakers, but legislative leaders have wanted to focus on the budgets full of spending cuts.
Voters last November required two-thirds supermajorities of the Legislature to raise taxes. Today at 2 p.m., the Senate Ways and Means Committee considers Sen. Ed Murray's proposal, SB 5944, to ask voters whether they want to change their minds and allow a simple majority vote for closing tax breaks.
The committee also considers closing some tax breaks more immediately in the form of SB 5945 and SB 5947.
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They will expect to hear from unions and liberal groups pleading for closure of loopholes as a way to stave off budget cuts; and from Tim Eyman and others who will tell them voters don't want tax increases.