Preventing an income tax

2018 legislative session • February 2, 2018 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Dear Friend:  

It's hard to believe that it's already February. These short, 60-day sessions always go so quickly. In fact, we hit our first legislative deadline today: policy committee cutoff. Any bill that deals with policy only had to make it through its respective policy committee today or it's considered "dead."

Our next deadline is fiscal committee cutoff on Tuesday, which will mean some long hours at work for members on the House Appropriations and Transportation committees. These self-imposed deadlines keep state lawmakers and the legislative process on track. They also help stakeholders and the public understand which bills are still in play.

You can find an explanation of all legislative deadlines here.   

Holding Sound Transit accountable  

Rep. Mark Harmsworth and Sen. Steve O'Ban held a news conference yesterday to share their solutions to hold Sound Transit accountable -- including lowering car tabs. To date, Democrats have prevented most of these bills from moving forward.

You can watch highlights of the floor debate on House Bill 2201 here. This measure provides some, but not enough, relief to those experiencing sticker shock from higher car-tab fees as a result of Sound Transit 3. Republicans support legislation that would provide real relief.

The Sound Transit controversy continues to provide a clear contrast in Republican and Democratic approaches.

Meeting with reporters

Each week, House and Senate Republican Leadership meets with reporters in what we call our media avail. You can watch our event from Tuesday here. Topics include: McCleary, salmon, the governor’s energy tax, gun rights, mental health, suicide prevention, veterans’ health care, telemedicine, and opioids.

I'll check back in with you next week. Have a nice weekend.

In your service,

Rep. Dan Kristiansen
House Republican Leader
(360) 786-7967

Rep. J.T. Wilcox

Leadership Podcast: Rep. J.T. Wilcox

Floor Leader J.T. Wilcox was recently on our Leadership Podcast. He explained his role as floor leader, how his business experience has informed his decisions as a state lawmaker, the importance of constituent relations, and how things have changed with the power shift in the Legislature.

Preventing an income tax

One of the planks in our Plan for Statewide Prosperity is preventing a local and state income tax.

There have been efforts in the cities of Olympia and Seattle to establish a local income tax. Voters in Olympia rejected the idea in November 2016, but the Seattle City Council approved a proposal in July 2017. 

A King County Superior Court Judge ruled in November 2017 that Seattle’s local income tax is illegal. However, the city vowed to fight on in the court system.

Both Olympia and Seattle were undeterred by RCW 36.65.030, which states: "A county, city, or city-county shall not levy a tax on net income."

Proponents have said they want to use a local income tax as a test case for a state income tax. Also, just this week, the the chair of the House Finance Committee introduced a bill to establish a new capital gains income tax in our state. If enacted, this would be a step toward a state income tax -- assuming it survived a likely court challenge.

Our solution

We could put this issue to rest by passing legislation. House Bill 2212, sponsored by Rep. Brandon Vick of Vancouver, would clarify the prohibition of the imposition of a local income tax. Unfortunately, the majority party has not even allowed a public hearing on this legislation. 

Learn more about this issue and our efforts to prevent an income tax by visiting this web page

Creating tax parity for manufacturing  

State lawmakers negotiated several complex issues last year, leading to bipartisan compromises and historical accomplishments. One of those accomplishments was lowering our state's business and occupation tax rate for manufacturers. The legislation would have set the rate at .2904 -- the same preferential tax rate given to aerospace manufacturers, including Boeing.

Unfortunately, Gov. Inslee vetoed it. The move delivered a major blow to the manufacturing industry and job creation across our state. It also upset several state lawmakers. 

This article in the Puget Sound Business Journal explained how there continues to be bipartisan support for this issue in the Senate. Sen. John Braun also highlighted Tax Parity for Manufacturing in his recent Economic Sense policy newsletter.  

Our solution

Rep. Brandon Vick has introduced legislation that would reinstate the preferential rate. House Bill 2393 was referred to the House Finance Committee, but has yet to receive a public hearing. Learn more in Rep. Vick's news release.   

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