Heads up: A major tax study is about to kick off this year.
Lawmakers budgeted $2 million to continue studying Washington's tax structure with an eye toward overhauling it and possibly adopting a state income tax. This tax structure work group is a significant expansion of the group that issued a report last December. The new group will have eight lawmakers, plus a representative from the governor's office.
This is a big deal, and it's never too early to get involved. The appointments to this work group have not been made yet, and are expected to happen sometime this summer. We'll send updates on this critical issue as soon as we learn more.
Here's a short overview of what's happening.
The measure requires a work group of state lawmakers and others to analyze significant changes to the state's tax structure over the next two years -- and recommend sweeping policy changes.
Notably, the bill requires the state Department of Revenue and the work group to update the information from a 2002 study that considered replacing the business and occupation tax with a value added tax, and imposing an income tax.
The work group is also required to estimate how much tax revenue would have been collected from 2017-19 if the changes from the 2002 report had been implemented. And we can expect to see an estimate of what state revenues would have been if Washington had the same tax system as Oregon or Idaho.
The work group is required to meet at least once by Dec. 1 of this year, and issue reports in 2020 and 2021. Public meetings are also required in 2021.
If you have questions or want to discuss ideas in the meantime, please contact AWB Government Affairs Director for Tax and Fiscal Policy Clay Hill at ClayH@awb.org, or 360.943.1600.