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Taxed to the Max

March 29, 2019

While Senate Democrats are not likely to announce their operating budget until Friday, March 29, House Democrats revealed their budget on Monday, March 25 and are expected to pass it out of the House on a party-line vote on Friday, March 29.

Despite an updated revenue forecast of $5.6 billion more in unexpected tax collections, they remain firm in their mantra that the state doesn’t have enough money and propose raising your taxes by $1.4 billion. Editorial headlines from Spokane to Vancouver to Walla Walla all agree—no new taxes are needed.

Proposed taxes to fund the record-breaking $53.3 billion budget:

  • Currently, Washington has one of the nation’s highest Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) (graduated rate) at a flat rate of 1.28%
    on a home sale. Lawmakers want the following changes:

    • .9% for home sales below $500,000
    • Keep it the same for sales up to $1.5 million
    • 2% increase for home sales between $1.5 million and $7 million
    • 3% above $7 million
  • An increase in current B&O tax rates
  • A capital gains income tax of nearly 10% (on individuals making more than $75,000 or a combined family making more than $150,000), despite the IRS and courts ruling repeatedly that it is considered an income tax — which is prohibited in Washington state.

Even using “Olympia” math, $5.6 billion is a lot of money and a 19% increase over the current state budget. Washington state currently has one of the hottest economies in America and instead of rushing the budget with unsustainable spending, why not re-examine our priorities and better prepare for the future? Rather than wait for the economy to take a turn, why not set aside our surplus?

House Republicans have released their position on the budget and as you can imagine, they are not supportive. Representative Drew Stokesbary (R-Auburn), the ranking Republican on the House Capital Budget Committee stated, “We can easily write a budget that funds all of our state priorities without raising any new taxes.” The GOP alternative is outlined here.

BIAW believes the state needs to live within its means, reject tax increases, and deposit extra revenue in a ”rainy day” fund. Doing so would create a better plan for our future needs instead of allowing irresponsible budget growth and tax increases. There is simply no need to raise taxes on working families or small businesses who fuel our economy.

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