#4ThePeople: Washington’s governor candidates’ tax plans, use of power

Inslee And Culp

SPOKANE, Wash.– Two men in Washington with very different views of the world are vying for your vote in the governor’s race.

That was on display in Wednesday night’s debate as Governor Jay Inslee and his opponent, Loren Culp, clashed over topics like COVID-19, taxes, and use of power among several other key issues.

RELATED: Washington’s candidates for governor discuss COVID-19, jobs and policing in only debate

We continue our #4ThePeople coverage by bringing your questions to those candidates about their views on those issues.

We start with a question from Patricia, who asked: “Big businesses are leaving the state; what will you do to ease the tax burden on our businesses to encourage them to stay?”

Boeing’s decision to move a major production line out of the state was a hot topic in Wednesday’s debate.

Culp said Inslee let it happen, while Inslee believes tax breaks may be one way to keep the plane manufacturer and other businesses in Washington.

“Look, I can read,” Inslee said. “I know the market has been down for airplanes, but this market is going to come back, and when it comes back, the Boeing company needs to treat taxpayers fairly, so we need to look at their tax breaks.”

Culp hasn’t said what exactly he would do to keep Boeing here. Instead, he attacked Inslee’s record and highlighted his own experience as a small business owner.

“I started my business with a single employee and an old truck that I bought from my grandpa on my payments,” Culp said. “I had a homemade single axel trailer, and that’s how I started my construction business and built that up for 20 years.”

But what about people?

Rebecca asked, “What will you do to reduce taxes for the citizens of Washington?”

Inslee said taxes will be determined around December, when he proposes his balanced budget.

The Inslee campaign also sent us a statement, which reads: “There is uncertainty around our fiscal picture. As others called for rash cuts to essential services that Washingtonians rely on in the middle of a pandemic, the governor stood strong.”

The campaign went on to say, “What would be most helpful right now is if the Trump administration and Mitch McConnel’s Senate got their act together and passed much needed state and local aid.”

In a statement to 4 News Now, Culp shared his tax vision for both businesses and Washingtonians.

“The state budget has doubled under Jay Inslee,” Culp said. “We have to get spending under control, freeze things where they are now.”

Culp said he would veto any tax increase that includes an income tax. He then said he’ll go through the budget and “make programmatic cuts once we have spending under control and reduced.”

That’s when he said he would cut tax burdens from businesses and residents.

We found more specifics on Culp’s website, and he wants to cut back spending down to 2016-17 levels.

Culp claims state government was able to deliver basic education and essential services effectively at that time. In reality, the state was dealing with a contempt order back then for not fulfilling its constitutional requirement to properly fund education.

Finally, Vince wanted to ask the candidates, “Do you believe the governor has authority to disregard the Washington State Constitution?”

Inslee said all of his COVID restrictions are constitutional.

“No court has struck down any of my decisions that are obviously controversial,” Inslee said. “Look, this is hard on people. Sometimes, saving lives is not easy.”

When we sent that question to Culp, he didn’t give us specifics but provided his thoughts of Inslee’s use of power to this point.

“The current governor does not understand what it means to raise his right hand and swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution,” Culp said. “I do. The governor should never violate that oath of office.”

We’re continuing to take your questions on these topics and candidates.

We have a lot more questions we’ll be answering about homelessness, racial equality and other key issues.