There is no case for new tax increases 

2021 legislative session • March 19, 2021

Washington State House Republicans

Dear Friend:

Budget writers received more good news this week when the revenue forecast revealed state tax collections are up significantly. As compared to the November forecast, Near General Fund-Outlook revenue increased by $3.29 billion over the four-year outlook. 

With this forecast and the massive amount of federal funding on the way, the Legislature has more than enough resources to fund state priorities -- including helping families recover and reopening schools. State lawmakers do not need to raise taxes on anyone. We will find out in the next week or so if the majority party shares these sentiments.  

There is no case for new tax increases 

The case for new tax increases was always fragile and has all but crumbled. Yet, Democrats continue to push for unnecessary and controversial proposals like an income tax on capital gains. Several editorial boards have criticized this legislation. 

Rep. Drew Stokesbary summarized it best in a recent statement"While the capital gains tax may be a convenient talking point, taxing investments and innovators is a surefire way to hamper our state's economic growth. House Republicans will continue standing for working families and against policies that would make life more expensive and risk derailing our economic recovery.” Drew understands the best way to make our tax system less regressive is to provide tax relief to those who need it the most. He has been the biggest champion of the Working Families Tax Credit which is fully funded in the House Republican budget

Rep. Ed Orcutt, our ranking member on the House Finance Committee, also explained the problems with this legislation at our media availability on Tuesday. No one is more focused on protecting taxpayers than Ed. 

Safely reopening schools 

I met with the governor yesterday to discuss several issues, including safely reopening schools. We share the same goal for students, but have differences on timelines and approaches.

The Republican Open Safe, Open Now plan called for schools to reopen immediately for in-person instruction. Senate Republican Leader John Braun and I also called for the governor to endorse three-foot spacing for classrooms yesterday. Today, the CDC approved this guidance for classroom settings. I have been assured by local school superintendents this would allow for the full reopening of schools.

House floor debate highlights 

After important House floor debates, we often create short videos of highlights from our side. We post these videos on a web page where we include a description of the legislation and why we support or oppose it. I encourage you to watch these videos and share them with others.  

Major issues ahead 

Several major issues must be addressed in the next 37 days. The Legislature will need to pass three budgets – operating, transportation and capital – and decide how to allocate new federal funding. The operating budget debate will likely include the issue of tax increases.     

It also appears parts of the governor's climate change agenda may be tied to transportation policy in what was recently described in an article as a “grand bargain.” Many of us are worried this "deal" could be regressive and expensive. I told the governor personally that piling up programs that add high costs to working families who have to commute is unacceptable. 

State lawmakers should also address the Washington Supreme Court ruling that struck down our state's felony drug possession law. The majority party has not signaled what -- if anything -- it plans to do. Be on the lookout for legislation from House Republicans early next week on this critical issue which impacts public safety and public health.  


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