April 22, 2019
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Tax increases still on the table as Legislature hits its final week

With a little more than a week remaining in the legislative session, House and Senate budget writers continue to negotiate the details of a new two-year state operating budget. On Friday, the House Finance Committee passed a pair of bills that make up a major part of the House Democrats’ proposed tax package, including legislation to enact a 9.9% capital gains tax, increase the real estate excise tax, and raise the B&O tax on services.

It’s not clear, however, whether there’s support in the Senate for all the House tax proposals.

And Jerry Cornfield reports in The Herald that even with Democrats controlling both chambers, it's not certain that everything will be decided by the scheduled end of session this Sunday.

“We’ll get done with all the negotiations in regular session. But it may take an extra couple days to get all the paperwork printed,” said Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Port Townsend, chairman of the House Capital Budget Committee. “There seems to be more connections between the three budgets than I’ve seen in the past which makes it more complex.”

House Democrats want to spend $52.6 billion -- $700 more than their counterparts in the Senate, using new tax revenue from a boost on business taxes for service-sector employers, increased real estate excise taxes on sales of higher-priced properties, and a new capital gains income tax. Senate Democrats included the real estate excise tax in their budget, but did not include the higher business taxes and capital gains income tax.

The Washington Research Council took a deeper look at the two chambers' budgets here, looked at the House's tax increases here, and had a good roundup of the House Ways & Means Committee's recent action here.

To learn more, contact Clay Hill, AWB government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy.

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