Washington Legislative Update: Two Credit-Union-Supported Bills Awaiting Vote

With just a few weeks left in the 2015 regular session and the April 1 cutoff to have bills out of the policy committees of the opposite chambers now looming, House committees are busy hearing Senate bills and Senate committees are busy hearing House bills.

The two bills NWCUA supports, our own relating to corporate governance and investments (Senate Bill 5757) and DFI’s agency request legislation (Senate Bill 5300), have passed the House Business & Financial Services Committee and are now in the House Rules Committee waiting to be pulled to the House floor for a vote.

Budget

The House Democrats released their 2015-17 operating budget proposal late last week. It would increase state spending from $33.8 billion in the 2013-15 budget cycle to $38.9 billion for 2015-17.

The proposal includes $1.5 billion in tax increases, including:

  • A new capital gains (income) tax – A 5% capital gains tax on investors who receive more than $25,000 individually ($50,000 as a couple) exempting profits from retirement funds, sales of permanent residences, and agriculture and timber producers. The proposal would affect about 31,500 people.
  • Repealing certain tax incentives – Closing or changing seven tax preferences. The sales tax exemption for bottled water would be repealed, as would the use tax exemption for extracted fuel, and preferred B&O rates for royalty income, travel agents and prescription drug resellers. The real estate excise tax on some foreclosure sales would be limited. 
  • An increase on the B&O service tax rate – Raising the B&O tax rate on services from the current 1.5% of gross receipts to 1.8% and raising the exemption for small businesses from the current $56,000 to $100,000.
  • A tax on transactions from out-of-state residents – The current exemption from sales tax that some residents of other states get would be changed to a refund those residents could claim on purchases of more than $25.

Association staff have concerns on the impact that removing the REET exemption on foreclosure sales would have on credit unions.

Now that the House majority Democrats have released their budget, negotiations begin with the Republican controlled Senate, expected to release their budget in the next week. Washington law requires that our state budget be balanced.

Other Bills We Are Tracking

Patent Trolling

Substitute Senate Bill 5059 is AG request legislation which creates the Patent Troll Prevention Act prohibiting a person from making assertions of patent infringement in bad faith. The bill received a do pass recommendation by the House Judiciary Committee on March 26.

Debt Adjusting Services

Substitute House Bill 1283 concerning nonprofit organizations engaged in debt adjusting received a do pass recommendation from the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee on March 26 and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

Payday Lending

Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5899 which creates a small consumer installment loan regulated by DFI received a do pass recommendation by the House Business & Financial Services Committee on March 25.

ABLE Act

Second Substitute House Bill 2063 requires the State Treasurer to convene a work group to design an ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) program by July 1, 2015. The bill received a do pass recommendation by the Senate Health Care Committee on March 25 and was referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

Small Business Retirement Plan Marketplace

Substitute House Bill 2109 creates the Washington small business retirement Marketplace in the Department of Commerce. The bill received a do pass recommendation by the Senate Financial Institution & Insurance Committee on March 26 and was referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee. The bill’s companion measure, Senate Bill 5826 received a do pass recommendation from the House Appropriations Committee on March 25.

Financial Literacy

Substitute Senate Bill 5202 changes the composition and duties of the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership (FEPPP). The bill received a do pass recommendation by the House Education Committee on March 26.

Debt Settlement Services

Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5321 concerns licensure of persons providing debt settlement services. The bill received a do pass recommendation by the House Business & Financial Services Committee in March 24.

Look for the Washington Legislative Week in Review each week in Anthem during legislative session which runs January 29 – April 26, 2015. If you have questions or comments, please contact Mark Minickiello, mminickiello@nwcua.org, 206.340.4812.

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