Washington Legislative Week in Review: Inslee’s Revenue Proposal Kicks State Budget Talks

Gov. Jay Inslee kicked off the budget debate in Olympia last week when he released his revenue proposal for Washington State’s operating budget, a two-year plan that allocates funding for state services, including K-12 education, higher education, low-income health care, and social services, among a host of other areas.

The governor’s proposal included the elimination of several large tax exemptions, as well as the continuation of some exemptions that are set to expire, with a total of $1.2 billion coming from:

  • The continuation of a B&O tax surcharge paid by doctors, lawyers and accountants that was set to expire this year ($534 million);
  • The continuation of 50-cent-per-gallon beer tax that was set to expire, and extending the tax to small brewers ($128 million);
  • Ending the sales tax exemption on bottled water ($52 million);
  • Ending the sales tax exemption on non-residents who shop in Washington State ($64 million);
  • Limiting the sales tax exemption on trade-in vehicles to a maximum of $10,000 ($95 million); and
  • Lowering the preferential B&O tax rates across all industries except aerospace and radioactive waste cleanup ($66 million).

The Republican-dominated Senate Majority Coalition plans to release its budget proposal this week with House Democrats following soon after. The House and Senate will then work with the governor to finalize a final plan that supports their shared priorities. The 105-day legislative session is scheduled to end April 28.

The pace has slowed in Olympia as the House and Senate finish out their policy committee hearings before taking up floor action again. The cutoff for bills to make it out of their policy committee in the opposite house is Wednesday, April 3. Those bills considered necessary to implement the budget (NTIB) are not subject to the cutoff.

Last week, the House Business & Financial Services Committee held just one hearing on SB 5312, authorizing small consumer installment loans. The Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee held hearings on debt collection, affordable housing, and reappointment of Scott Jarvis, Director of DFI.

Senate Bill 5302 remains in the House Rules Committee since being passed there on March 19. The House Rules Committee is expected to begin meeting again early this week, at which time we expect SB 5302 will be pulled to the House floor for a vote.

 

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Vice President of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Pam Leavitt, Policy Advisor

Posted in Advocacy News.