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Wash. governor proposes tax increases

Feb. 18, 2010 at 7:12 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire proposes raising taxes on cigarette, soda and candy sales and out-of-state businesses to help close a budget gap.

Gregoire proposed the tax package Wednesday, saying it would bring in $605 million in additional revenue, The Seattle Times reported. She rejected a general sales tax hike, which some Democratic legislators support.

"I've tried to do what I consider the most balanced, responsible approach that I could find, knowing full well there's going to be a really big debate," Gregoire said at a news conference. "I've shown them the way to go home."

The governor's office estimates the budget shortfall for next year at $2.8 billion if the state continues to keep all programs at their current level. Gregoire said some spending cuts will be necessary.

Her package includes collecting sales taxes for candy, soda and bottled water and tripling the tax on cigarettes. She also proposed tripling a tax on hazardous substances, including oil and chemicals and adding taxes for out-of-state companies that do business in Washington.

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