Stonier: Tax change prompted her 'no' vote on budget

Legislator was only House Democrat to oppose the plan

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

Published:

Updated: April 13, 2013, 8:49 PM

 
photoRep. Monica Stonier, 17th District

The sole Democrat in the Washington House to vote against a budget that assumes $1.3 billion in new revenue said she’s listening to business interests.

Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, said she opposed the budget, passed Friday on a 54-43 vote, because of permanent extensions to some business and beer taxes that are part of the proposal.

The budget proposal calls for putting more money into the state’s education system, while at the same time patching an anticipated deficit for the next two-year budget.

“The budget does a lot of things right in terms of funding education,” Stonier said. “My concern now is, we’re making some taxes that were temporary permanent.”

Other aspects of the plan include repealing the sales tax exemption on bottled water, as well as scrapping the sales tax break provided to residents who live in states that don’t have a sales tax, such as Oregon.

In opposing the budget, Stonier said the permanent taxes would come at a time when people are still struggling.

“We need to look at scaling things in,” Stonier said, “so we can keep our promises to taxpayers.”

The House budget plan would increase government spending by 10 percent.

The vote took place after the Senate passed its own plan, which called for increasing government spending by 7 percent.

The two chambers will have until April 28 to hash out their differences or risk going into special session.