The Make Washington Broke Again Legislative Blunder
By Cindy Alia, April 29, 2019
The legislature completed this year’s session at midnight Monday morning, and did it with a gusto for filching the pockets of every productive citizen in Washington State. Even in these good times for business and so for what is referred to as revenue, taxation was the main focus for the Democrat Majority this year.
Elections make a difference, and this year with a majority in the house, senate, and the administrative arm of Governor Jay Inslee, democrats rushed through as many taxes as possible. Even forcing through in two days introduction “public” hearing, executive hearing and a miraculous jump to the floor of both chambers to pass the bill much to the objection of all republicans and two democrats, Tim Sheldon, and Mark Mullet who had his committee bypassed in the process. HB 2167 Relating to tax revenue. Will impose an additional 1.2 percent business and occupation tax on specified financial institutions. With this bill, 22 of the world’s largest financial institutions is B&O tax nearly doubled. Another tax bill hikes the B&O tax on companies like Amazon and Microsoft to create a dedicated higher education fund. That fund would make public college or apprenticeships free for families making under $50,000 a year, with partial scholarships for families earning up to the state’s median income. But not to worry, it is not only the big companies who will suffer such slings and arrows. There are B&O taxes designed to target everyday average hard working individuals and families.
Details on SB 5581, which includes information on details of B&O taxation can be read here:
You can see a listing of proposed and failed, as well as passed B&O tax bills, with those passing the legislature bolded, here: https://apps.leg.wa.gov/billsbytopic/Results.aspx?year=2019&subject=TAXES%20-%20BUSINESS%20AND%20OCCUPATION
HB 1109 Making 2019-2021 biennium operating appropriations. Passed on a party line vote, Senator Ericksen described the budget best in saying the budget grows government by 17.5% in a two-year period 11% over what is needed to continue to grow in Washington. This budget bakes in 25 billion dollars of tax increases over 10 years. Over the 4-year budget 75.5 billion dollars of tax money will be required to do this budget. It is not sustainable and when the economy takes a downturn it will be disastrous.
SHB 2163 Budget Stability Account K/12 passed with the required constitutional majority. This bill authorizes the transfer of $58.4 million from the Budget Stabilization Account for K-12 hold-harmless appropriations in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.
SB 5313 K/12 Education Concerning School Levies passed also on a party line basis with the majority democrats carrying the bill with Hobbs, Mullet, and Sheldon jumping ship.
HB 1873 Concerning the taxation of vapor products as tobacco products. Establishes a tax on vapor products in an amount equal to $0.10 per milliliter of nicotine solution for any accessible container and $0.30 per milliliter of nicotine solution for all other vapor products.
On a more positive note, the Capital Gains tax failed to pass this session. HB 2156 would have imposed a 9.9 percent tax on Washington capital gains realized from the sale of long-term assets, modify the state real estate excise tax rate structure, and adds expenditures for early learning programs to authorized uses of Education Legacy Trust account moneys. It seems too troubling to have to pass an unconstitutional tax, when there are so many other ways to bilk the people of this state.
It is a sad day in Washington State when in the best of times, legislators greedily grab for one of the largest tax burdens they could have passed onto the citizens of the state, needlessly. Elections have consequences, and unfortunately in these best of economic times, the democrats of Washington State have set the scenes for many to have much less of their hard earned money in their own pockets.