‘Targeted taxes put jobs in the crosshairs,’ Parker votes no

Spokane employers will leave this state for Idaho, which has laid out the welcome mat, Parker says


Rep. Kevin Parker early Tuesday morning voted against a $893 million tax increase in the state House of Representatives he says will drive employers across the state line to Idaho.

“I’m very concerned Idaho will benefit from the Washington Legislature’s irresponsible budgeting. Idaho Governor Otter just recently invited Washington businesses across the border,” said Parker, R-Spokane. “I have advocated since before session began Washington needed to ease burdens on employers, not add more taxes and regulations. This session was a missed opportunity to create revenue and growth to stabilize our economy and our state budget.”

The 21 tax increases in the package include:

  • $30.5 million tax on candy;
  • $30 million tax on bottled water;
  • $154.7 million tax on direct sellers, including Avon, Mary Kay and Amway; and
  • $41.5 million tax on nonresident consumers.

“What we’re talking about today hurts the bike shop downtown, the florist next door, the places you stop to get your coffee each morning, your hair stylist, and every employer in between,” Parker said. “We are talking about the lower and middle-class person’s job.”

As a Spokane small business owner, Parker said he is frustrated taxes were the first resort of the session, rather than the last.

“If private employers operated the way our state is right now, raising costs after making poor spending decisions, they would go out of business,” Parker said. “Unfortunately, the state has little motivation to live within its means. Instead, this budget will rely on taxes and $1.2 billion in one-time spending. My motivation is our future. These tax increases will mortgage our children’s future to maintain spending habits today. It just is not a credible plan to balance the budget.”

The House approved the tax package 52-45. It now goes back to the Senate for agreement between the two chambers.


Contact: Sarah Lamb, public information officer, (360) 786-7720


Washington State House Republican Communications