February 19, 2018
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Report: Washington Research Council looks at the capital gains tax

House Bill 2967 would impose a 7 percent capital gains tax, with the idea of using it to lower property tax rates.

The questionable constitutionality of a capital gains tax makes it a risky source of revenue, whether for the schools as previously proposed or property tax relief now, the Washington Research Council concludes in a new policy brief.

"Moreover, should the legislation somehow clear the high constitutional bar, the volatility of the tax would add a substantial degree of instability to property tax bills," the WRC reports. "It’s unlikely any property owner would welcome an unpredictable tax bill. Finally, the legislation is unlikely to make any substantial impact on the alleged and misdiagnosed regressivity of the state tax structure."

After a public hearing on Friday, the bill is scheduled for executive action in the House Finance Committee this afternoon.

The full Washington Research Council report is available here.

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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
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