In 2010, Democrats passed a temporary business and occupation tax extension which raised the initial rate 20 percent for Washington’s businesses. This increase was supposed to expire on July 1, 2013. However, Democrats tried to make the extension permanent in the 2013-15 biennium budget, calling it “closing tax loopholes.” I believe making the tax extension permanent is a tax increase. The business and occupation tax applies to every business, including those serving our most vulnerable. The tax applies to children’s hospitals, veteran organizations, death services and outpatient care centers. Making the extension permanent would have taxed outpatient care centers over an additional $16.4 million alone. Despite this, Democrats pressed hard for the tax increase. Luckily, I believe, the fiscally conservative Majority Coalition Caucus in the State Senate held the line in budget negotiations. The caucus forced Democrats to withdraw making the surcharge permanent; effectively killing the tax increase. However, there has already been movement to reverse this progress. Democrats attempted to bring the 20 percent business and occupation surcharge back this year. We need to retain the Majority Coalition Caucus as I believe they are the ones preventing these egregious tax increases. In tough times the last thing we need is for our legislators to raise taxes, especially when those taxes target our children, veterans, care centers, and when we lose a loved one.