Yesterday I went down to Olympia to support legislation that would authorize State Auditor Brian Sonntag to conduct independent, comprehensive performance audits on state agencies. Today I am heading back to the Capitol to support legislation that provides similar oversight of tax exemptions.
The House Finance Committee is meeting at 1:30 today for a public hearing on HB 1069, HB 1094, and HB 1096. It’s time we demand the same kind of accountability from tax exemptions as we do from other government programs.
With the Legislature struggling over whether to raise some taxes in their efforts to close a $1.6 billion budget gap, one thing neither party seems to want to discuss are the billions of dollars of tax exemptions currently in place — an amount that actually exceeds the size of the budget itself. And of course, much of the lobbying that goes on in Olympia, is on behalf of millions of dollars in new exemptions.
If people like Tim Eyman really cared about giving taxpayers the most bang for their buck, he’d be down there with me, fighting to assure that our existing tax exemptions are actually producing the social and economic benefits that they promised. Otherwise, all this talk about performance audits on government expenditures, while allowing zero accountability on “tax expenditures”, comes off as just a load of partisan hooey.
I’ll post a full report tonight.