February 19, 2018
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories

Democratic leaders speak at AWB Lobby Lunch

Legislators will propose property tax relief for Washington property owners soon, House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan told AWB members and lobbyists Thursday. But at the same time, there’s a capital gains tax proposal in the Washington House of Representatives that would tie the two taxes together, lowering one, and raising the other.

Sullivan and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Andy Billig addressed AWB members and lobbyists at the third and final 2018 Lobby Lunch Thursday, giving updates to the state budget, rural broadband and whether the governor’s carbon tax proposal has the votes to make it out of the 2018 session.

Sullivan answered a question about how strong state revenue forecasts, released Thursday, affected the Legislature’s plans on taxes.

“It doesn’t change our plans,” Sullivan said. “…There was no proposal in the House or in the Senate that I’m aware of that was seriously considering to raise revenues.”

He also said legislators are going to town hall meetings over the weekend, and, “I can guarantee you the number one thing they’re going to hear about is property taxes.”

Property tax relief bills will pop up soon, he said.

There are other tax proposals still working through the Legislature, however, including one for capital gains.

“The capital gains proposal in the House doesn’t raise taxes. It actually reduces property taxes at commensurate rates,” Sullivan said.

In essence, it’s an offset – pass a new capital gains tax and lower property taxes with the collections.

AWB testified against that proposal, House Bill 2967, Friday. The bill would “ask the state's citizens to reduce the state property tax levy and replace it with the capital gains excise tax,” according to the bill summary.

Billed as a tax on “high-income earners,” AWB Government affairs Director Clay Hill expressed the business community’s opposition to the bill before the House Finance Committee, noting that the tax would not be applied uniformly or broadly, something he said good tax policy should do, and would affect residents other than high-income earners.

The carbon tax bill is also alive in the Legislature. Sullivan and Billig gave the audience their perspective.

“Unless there’s a bipartisan vote in the House, it’s not going to go anywhere,” Sullivan said. “We made it clear over the last several sessions that we don’t have 50 votes in the House to pass a carbon tax.”

According to Billig, it’s an open question in the Senate.

“I think it’s open, whether it’s got the support on the floor,” he said.

The tax discussion is underway as state officials report the biggest state revenue collections in many years. Washington’s projected tax collections for the 2017-19 state budget have increased by nearly $628 million, the state Office of Financial Management announced Thursday. Officials also project an increase of $660 million for the 2019-21 budget years

Read more at the Olympia Business Watch blog, or watch the video here.

« Back to Main
B&O Tax Relief for Manufacturers
Support All Manufacturers

AWB tells House committee, 'It's time to let all manufacturers win'

By Jason Hagey, AWB

AWB President Kris Johnson called on lawmakers to lower the business and occupation (B&O) tax rate for all Washington manufacturers, not just those in some parts of the state, during a hearing Friday before the House Finance Committee.

In its current form, Substitute House Bill 2947 would lower the B&O rate for manufacturers in 30 counties. It would leave out nine counties, including many that consist largely of rural areas, such as Kitsap and Benton.

"It's time to let all manufacturers win," Johnson said, echoing language that Rep. Gael Tarleton, D-Ballard, used during a floor speech last week on a separate measure aimed at boosting Washington's boat manufacturers. "We're going to let our fishing fleet win," Tarleton declared before the House voted 97-1 in favor of her bill.
Read the full blog and watch the video at Olympia Business Watch
Preserving Local Commitment

Avista sale is good for customers, community

By Scott Morris, CEO, Avista Corp.

Six months ago, Avista and Hydro One announced plans to combine and form one of North America's largest regulated utilities. Since that time, as we've moved toward closing, our confidence has only grown in the benefits of this merger for all of our stakeholders, from our customers and employees to our shareholders and the communities we serve.

Given the central role that Avista plays in its service territories, both as an energy provider and a member of the community, we understand why customers and community members want assurances that they will continue to receive safe, reliable and high-quality energy at a fair price and that Avista will continue to be an active corporate citizen.

The short answer is that the proposed transaction is designed to help preserve -- and even enhance -- Avista's commitments to its customers and its communities. In a changing industry landscape, joining forces with Hydro One will help safeguard Avista's proud legacy and way of doing business...

Read the full op-ed in The Spokesman-Review
Upcoming Events