Virtual Tax Town Halls

2021 interim • September 24, 2021

Washington State House Republicans

Dear Friend:

The Tax Structure Work Group is hosting virtual Tax Town Halls across the state over the next six weeks. This group has been tasked with "identifying options to make Washington State tax code more equitable, adequate, stable, and transparent," and it includes Republican and Democratic state lawmakers. 

The group's first events were in the East Region (Legislative Districts 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 16) on Wednesday. If you would like to learn more about the format and what was discussed, you can watch the 2:30 p.m. event at this TVW link

As you can imagine, there are different philosophies at play on the issue of taxes. Democrats have increased several taxes over the last three years, despite the fact our state was bringing in record tax collections -- including more positive revenue news today. They have also passed regressive energy policies that will make life more expensive for Washingtonians -- including higher costs for gas, heating, and goods. Republicans opposed these bills. 

Sen. John Braun and I are encouraging Washingtonians to participate in these Zoom Tax Town Halls. The time is now to speak up for tax relief and against a new state income tax. 

Redistricting legislative district maps released 

The four commissioners of the Washington State Redistricting Commission released draft legislative district maps on Tuesday. You can find these maps and commissioner statements at this web page. Draft congressional district maps will be released on Tuesday.

There will be a statewide public outreach meeting on these proposed legislative district maps on October 5, and a meeting for congressional maps on October 9. To learn more about how you can be involved, click here.  

More concerns with the new long-term care insurance tax

There continues to be confusion and anger over the Democrats' new long-term care insurance tax (WA Cares Fund), including how to opt out. As this Washington State Wire article reveals, there are already concerns about the program's financial viability and fairness. A bipartisan group of state senators just sent a letter to the governor asking him to suspend the new tax. 

Sen. Christine Rolfes, in this Crosscut piece, said she is troubled that she hasn’t heard from any constituents who are excited about the program. That's no surprise to Republicans. She also said a special session may be needed to postpone or make changes to the program. 

My staff created this web page, including frequently asked questions, to help you understand this new program and payroll tax. We will update it in the future when more information becomes available, including legislation we are proposing related to the program.

Have your insurance premiums increased? 

If you notice an increase in your auto or homeowners insurance premiums, it may be because Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an emergency rule that banned the use of credit scoring when setting insurance rates.  

In this op-ed in The Seattle Times, Democratic Sen. Mark Mullet said: "Adding on to families’ economic burdens is often unwise. But to do so amid the ongoing hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic is downright cruel -- and the blame sits squarely on the desk of state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler." 

Rep. Brandon Vick also penned an op-ed in The Columbian. In it, he concluded: "If your rates went up, blame Commissioner Kreidler. If you want to do something about it, tell the commissioner how upset you are and then contact your legislators." 

For me, this is yet another misuse of emergency powers. Commissioner Kreidler did not like the actions of the Legislature on his bill in the 2021 legislative session and decided to go around the institution to get what he wanted. This is corrosive and we must restore balance within the branches of state government, including emergency powers reforms.   


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