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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."

Under Republican Attack, Washington Governor Defends Tax Proposals

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Washington Governor Jay Inslee defends himself against Republican critics who say higher taxes should be a last resort.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is defending his call for higher taxes in 2015. The Democrat reacted Thursday to criticism from Republican lawmakers.

Washington Republicans said higher taxes should be a last resort and accused Governor Inslee of making taxes his default position.

Inslee laughed off the criticism at a legislative forum sponsored by the Associated Press.

“Well it’s wrong,” he said. “It’s not true to start with.”

Inslee said he came to the conclusion that higher taxes are needed after modeling 15 percent across-the-board cuts, scrubbing the budget for savings and efficiencies and working to keep health care inflation in check.

“And when you do the math you have to generate additional revenue,” Inslee said.

In December, Inslee unveiled a $1.4 billion proposed tax package that includes new taxes on capital gains and industrial carbon emissions, also an increase in the cigarette tax and the elimination of several tax exemptions.

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."