In proposing a half-penny sales tax increase earlier this month, Gov. Chris Gregoire framed it as a necessity if the state is to avoid further deep cuts to schools and social services.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to shred very core services, and it is time to stand up for Washingtonians," Gregoire said in her state of the state speech.
The half-penny increase would raise nearly $500 million a year, with most of the money going to "buy back" proposed cuts to schools, such as reduced levy equalization subsidies to poorer districts and shortening the school year by four days. If the plan passes the Legislature, it would go to a public vote this spring.