Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle) recently introduced HB 1847, a bill that would eliminate about $245 million in special interest tax breaks in order to raise the money necessary to retain the state's Basic Health Care Program. And a new poll (PDF) conducted last week on behalf of the Elder Care Alliance, shows pretty damn strong support:
The state of Washington has a nearly $5 billion budget dollar shortfall for the next two years. The legislature is considering a proposal that would raise about $245 million dollars by eliminating tax breaks for out-of state banks, out-of-state shoppers, out-of-state coal, cosmetic surgery, and private jet airplanes. The money raised from eliminating those tax breaks would be used to retain the Basic Health Care Program.
Which of these positions comes closest to your own inclination about this proposal?
That's a total of 62 percent in support of the proposal, and only 29 percent opposed. In a real election, we'd call that a landslide.
And it's not just hippy-dippy Seattle bumping up the numbers, with the bill enjoying strong support throughout the state, the weakest region being Eastern Washington, where respondents came out in favor of the proposal 55 percent to 30 percent. In fact, the only demographic group to oppose the proposal were, of course, Republicans, but even then only just barely, with 42 percent responding in favor compared to 46 percent opposed.
And the bill is as pragmatic as it is noncontroversial. Eliminating Basic Health would lose the state millions in federal dollars, while just costing us more in the long term as dollars shift from preventative care and early treatment to the emergency room... not to mention the cost in human suffering. Plus, we'll just have to rebuild much of the Basic Health Program infrastructure in a few years, when federal health care reform kicks in, so where's the sense in that?
Here's hoping the governor and the legislature prove as sensible as the public.