House Democrats pass supplemental operating budget with no tax relief

2020 legislative session • February 28, 2020 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Dear Friend: 

In what can best be described as budget week, House supplemental operating, transportation and capital budgets were released over the last five days. These proposals are midcourse adjustments to our two-year state budgets. 

House supplemental operating budget 

Unfortunately, the House supplemental operating budget is a highly partisan proposal. This was reflected in the party-line, 55-39, vote tonight. House Republicans tried to improve the legislation, and some of our amendments were adopted, but ultimately it was not enough to change our final votes. 

Despite historic tax collections and a $2.4 billion budget surplus, House Democrats passed a plan that would spend nearly all of the extra revenue and create future spending obligations. This is not sustainable or responsible. 

Alternative budget solutions  

House Republicans offered two striking amendments that provided alternative solutions for the House supplemental operating budget.

One proposal would have implemented most of the supplemental appropriations proposed by the governor, in addition to $30 car tabs, the Working Families Tax Credit, and some sales tax exemptions. However, it would not have tapped the rainy-day fund -- like the governor proposed.  

The other proposal would have also implemented most of the governor's budget, in addition to $600 million per year in property tax relief. This property tax reduction was recently introduced in stand-alone legislation -- House Bill 2954

These proposals did not pass, but they did offer contrast. In the end, House Republicans offered major tax relief to working families, but House Democrats rejected it. It's that simple. 

House supplemental transportation budget 

The news isn't all bad though. The House supplemental transportation budget had a lot of Republican input and the 97-1 vote today reflected this bipartisanship. Our transportation lead, Rep. Andrew Barkis, did a great job of proactively setting priorities, advocating for $30 car tabs and negotiating a responsible budget. 

The homestretch

Just 13 days remain in the legislative session. Stay tuned. Stay engaged. And be sure to check The Ledger daily. 


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

Call to action: House Bill 2946

House Republicans put forward a proposal for $1 billion in tax relief for working families. House Bill 2946 will be heard in the House Transportation Committee tomorrow (Saturday) at 11:00 a.m.

Please consider coming to Olympia to testify on this bill. Or, you can comment on it here

Learn more: 

Five things to watch for

Low-carbon fuel standard | state gas-tax increase  

Democrats are apparently united on wanting to increase the price of gas, but divided on how to go about doing it. For two years in a row, House Democrats have passed a regressive low-carbon fuel standard that would increase the price of gas, diesel and products. Despite a push from the governor, the Senate has so far rejected House Bill 1110

Several House Democrats sent a letter to the chairs of the House and Senate Transportation Committees saying they will not move forward with any kind of transportation revenue package (state gas-tax increase) until the low-carbon fuel standard is passed. Both proposals would increase what you pay at the pump.     

Comprehensive sexual health education 

Despite overwhelming opposition from parents across the state, Democrats are pushing a controversial comprehensive sexual health education bill. Senate Bill 5395 passed out of the Senate on a party-line vote and moved out of the House Education Committee on a narrow vote yesterday. If it comes to the floor, House Republicans will work to defeat it -- like last year. Watch our video on this issue here.   

Death penalty repeal 

The Senate has passed legislation the last two years that would repeal the death penalty. Senate Bill 5339 moved out of the House Public Safety Committee yesterday. Rep. Jenny Graham continues to provide victims and their families a voice in this important debate. Learn more about her story here

Gun rights 

Senate Bill 6288 would create the Washington Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention within the Department of Commerce. It passed the Senate on a 25-23 vote. Bipartisan opposition could have an impact on the outcome in the House. 

House Bill 2947 is another attempt to limit the capacity of magazines and erode gun rights. The difference with this bill is that it would impose yet another tax increase to fund a large capacity magazine buy-back program.

Title-only bills 

Will there be any more title-only bills introduced and passed in the last days of the legislative session? It happened last year. Unfortunately, our bill to end this practice and increase legislative transparency was ignored by House Democrats.   

Republicans in the news

GOP lawmakers say Democrats’ proposed budget increases can’t survive next recession (The News Tribune)

Republican legislators push for $1 billion tax cut for state’s residents (The News Tribune)

Republican leadership doubts effectiveness of homelessness spending (Federal Way Mirror)

In middle of debate, felon voting rights bill dies on floor of Washington Senate (NW News Network)

EDITORIAL: Taxpayers should share in good budget news (The Columbian)

Republican media avail

Republican media avail

From left to right, Rep. Drew Stokesbary, Rep. Andrew Barkis and House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox take questions from reporters on Tuesday. Topics included: The House supplemental operating and transportation budgets, House Republican proposals for tax relief, health care, Western State Hospital, B&O tax rates for aerospace, fish culverts, gun rights, and homelessness. Watch here.  

It's Your Home. Expect More.


Past editions of The Current
Member email updates
The Capitol Buzz

 Bill information

Senate Republicans

Secretary of State
State Treasurer
All state agencies 

The Washington State Ledger