$4.2 billion in new tax increases

2019 legislative session • March 29, 2019 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Dear Friend:  

The big news this week was the House Democrats' operating budget proposal. As expected, they want to expand state spending well beyond natural revenue growth with $4.2 billion in new tax increases -- including a capital gains income tax. You can find more facts and figures below.

We just concluded a long, spirited House floor debate on this budget. I'm really proud of our members' speeches, amendments and votes. We fought hard for responsible state spending and against unnecessary tax increases, but ultimately the bill passed on a 56-38 vote. I previewed this debate earlier today in my weekly video.

We will create a video of the debate highlights and post it to this web page next week, which features other major debates of the session. I encourage you to watch them and provide your feedback. 

Media relations

Rep. Drew Stokesbary and I have spent a lot of time talking to reporters, including a news conference on Wednesday. Our message is clear: The Legislature has enough revenue to fund state priorities and does not need to raise taxes on anyone.

Drew walked TVW's Austin Jenkins through how this could be done on Inside Olympia on Thursday. Sen. John Braun has also been effective in making the case, with some editorial boards concluding he is right.   

Another message I've been sharing with the media, stakeholders and constituents is this: Republicans may be in the minority, but we're helping steer the debate and getting results. This recent story by an Everett Herald reporter captures these points and concludes: "Sounds like the loyal opposition may already be in their (the Democrats') heads."    

The week ahead

We are now two-thirds of the way through the session. Our next legislative deadline is policy committee cutoff (opposite house) on April 3. Here's a look at the week ahead.

While Republicans have been successful in passing good bills and defeating bad ones, more battles loom. Please lend your voice to the process. It can make a difference.


Rep. J.T. Wilcox
House Republican Leader
(360) 786-7912

The House Democrats' 2019-21 operating budget proposal would:

  • spend $53 billion (our current spending level is $44.4 billion);
  • increase the operating budget by $8.6 billion;
  • increase the operating budget by 19.4 percent; and
  • rely on $4.2 billion in new tax increases over four years, including a new capital gains income tax and new B&O taxes on services.  

For more information:

Record tax collections

Revenue chart

This slide is from the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council's March 20 Revenue Review. It shows how state revenues have grown since 2002. Yet, despite these record tax collections, House Democrats are still pushing for massive tax increases.

2019-21 House transportation budget

The House also released its 2019-21 transportation budget proposal this week, which included a more bipartisan process and outcome. The bill passed off the House floor earlier today on a 90-5 vote.

Our ranking member on the House Transportation Committee, Rep. Andrew Barkis, said this in a statement: "This budget implements and funds many of the projects of the Connecting Washington program, which was adopted by the Legislature in 2015 … Overall, this is a good budget addressing transportation needs across our state." Read his full statement here.

The proposal would provide $10 billion for the 2019-21 budget cycle for transportation-related agencies. Some highlights include:

  • $3 billion for highway improvements (projects).
  • $777 million for highway preservation.  
  • $499.6 million for highway maintenance.
  • $1 billion for Washington State Ferries ($548 million for operating, $463 million for capital spending).
  • $540 million for Washington State Patrol.
  • $214 million for fish culverts.

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