Washington Legislative Week in Review: Lawmakers Enter the Home Stretch

Lawmakers have until Friday to pass bills that originated in the opposite house of the Washington Legislature in what essentially is the last week of the 2014 session. Bills that don’t make the Friday cutoff will be considered dead for the year.

Under state law, the last day allowed for the short regular session is March 13.

NWCUA Sponsored Legislation

House Bill 2140, which gives Washington state-chartered credit unions parity with federally chartered credit unions regarding mergers, passed the Senate on Feb. 26 by a vote of 49-0. The bill now will be delivered to Gov. Jay Inslee to be signed into law.

Once the bill is delivered, the governor has five days under state law (excluding Sundays) to take action on the bill, provided adjournment does not occur within those five days. The governor can choose to sign the bill, do nothing — in which case it becomes law automatically — or veto the bill.

Tax Exemptions

Senate Democratic leaders proposed eliminating four tax exemptions last week, a move that would raise $100 million for K-12 public schools this year and an additional $202 million over the following two years. The changes, which were also on a list of reforms released by Inslee in late January, would:

  • Repeal the tax exemption for extracted fuel;
  • Repeal the sales tax exemption on bottled water;
  • Eliminate the refund of the state portion of sales tax to out-of-state shoppers; and
  • Repeal the preferential business and occupation tax rate for resellers of prescription drugs.

Inslee proposed closing seven tax breaks to pay for additional K-12 investments under a plan that would generate $200 million over the remainder of the current biennium and $414 million during the 2015–17 biennium. In addition to the tax exemptions above, Inslee would:

  • Repeal the sales tax exemption for automotive trade-ins valued over $10,000;
  • Repeal the public utility tax deduction for in-state portion of interstate transportation; and
  • Repeal the sales tax exemption for janitorial services.

So far, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus hasn’t shown any interest in ending tax exemptions or raising new revenue this year.

Mark Minickiello will report from Olympia each week that the Washington Legislature is in session; look for his “Washington Legislative Week in Review” every Tuesday in Anthem. For more information, contact Minickiello at mminickiello@nwcua.org or 206.340.4812.

Questions? Contact Gary M. Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News.