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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Elway Poll Suggests Washington Voters Open To Higher Taxes

Elway Research
A new Elway Poll suggests that Washington voters are open to some new taxes.

Washington voters would prefer no new taxes and no deep cuts to state services. But if that’s not possible, they’re open to some new taxes.

That’s the finding of a new non-partisan poll from Stuart Elway released Tuesday.

The Elway Poll looked at four specific taxes all proposed by Democratic Governor Jay Inslee:

  • capital gains
  • carbon emissions
  • cigarettes
  • bottled water

Support ranged from 77 percent for the cigarette tax to 56 percent for the bottled water tax. Those robust numbers suggest to longtime pollster Stuart Elway that the mood of Washington voters is changing.
“They’re feeling better about the economy,” Elway said. “They know revenue is going to be needed from somewhere. They’d like to not to have to raise taxes, but they’re open to that possibility.”

Elway noted support for higher taxes is likely to drop once the debate begins in the legislature. Elway’s latest poll also showed that for the first time in seven years, Washington voters put education ahead of the economy as their top issue.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."