November 20, 2017
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Federal Issues

U.S. House votes for tax reform; all eyes now on Senate

On a mostly party-line 227-205 vote, the U.S. House last week voted for a major tax overhaul, with a focus on lowering taxes for employers. The bill cuts the 35 percent corporate tax rate to 20 percent and reduces personal rates for many taxpayers, while lowering or shrinking exemptions. According to legislative rules, the bill could increase federal deficits by no more than $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Washington Republican members of Congress Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Reichert all voted “yes.” All of the state's Democratic members of Congress voted “no.”

“Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity and help those middle-income families who are struggling,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

The House vote on Thursday was a major step forward for tax reform, The Associated Press reports, but with an uncertain road ahead in the Senate.

"In the Senate, a similar measure received a politically awkward verdict from nonpartisan congressional analysts showing it would eventually produce higher taxes for low- and middle-income earners but deliver deep reductions for those better off," The AP reports.

The Senate version of the bill, which passed the Finance Committee on Thursday by a party-line 14-12 vote, would repeal the Affordable Care Act's requirement that everyone in the nation purchase health insurance. Eliminating the individual mandate would free up another $338 billion over 10 years that Senate budget-writers could use for additional tax cuts.

Contact Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for federal issues, to learn more.

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Continue Bipartisan Successes

One-party rule in Olympia should not end bipartisan effort

By Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville

The election this month of Democrat Manka Dhingra to represent the people of the 45th legislative district changes the landscape of the Washington state Senate, resulting in a return to one-party rule in Olympia.

However, it does not have to change the bipartisan way in which the Legislature has operated since a group of Democrats joined with Republicans in 2013 to govern by consensus, ushering in unprecedented achievements.

For the past five years, the bipartisan Majority Coalition Caucus controlled the Senate, while Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and governor's mansion. For measures to pass, members of both chambers had to debate, negotiate and compromise.

This process resulted in the passage of historic legislation, such as the first-ever college-tuition reduction, a $16 billion transportation package and a plan to fully fund basic education with equitable levy reform...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Legal Maneuvers

Be watchful of Seattle's income tax

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

In July, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to impose an income tax on its wealthiest citizens, knowing full well the decision would end up challenged in court.

That apparently was part of the strategy.

By spurring debate, advocates for the Seattle income tax hope to reverse historical precedent and open the door so other communities can follow Seattle's lead.

If that were to happen, it's reasonable to think the next step would be an effort to impose an income tax statewide. That's why we should be watching this issue closely.

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
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