2022 legislative session •
For years, Democrats have said our state’s tax system is unfair, including how our state sales and property taxes are regressive. Yet today, with majorities in the Legislature, a large budget surplus, and families struggling with high inflation and other financial burdens, it does not appear they are open to meaningful tax relief. In fact, a Democratic state senator introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce the state sales tax rate and it has not even received a public hearing.
We know the majority party is capable of pushing though major tax policy, even in a 60-day legislative session. We have seen Democrats pass several new tax increases over the last three years, including a capital gains income tax that is now being challenged in our court system. It simply comes down to legislative priorities.
Meaningful tax relief
A legislative priority for House Republicans is to help make life more affordable for Washingtonians. In my time in the Legislature, there has never been a better opportunity to provide meaningful tax relief — at a time when people need it the most.
State lawmakers knew for months they would come to Olympia in January with a budget surplus, healthy reserves, and unspent federal stimulus funds. House Republicans prepared accordingly and put proposals on the table early in the legislative session. We have introduced bills that would:
- Lower property taxes
- Expand the Working Families Tax Credit
- Alleviate consumer inflation
- Repeal and replace the long-term care insurance program and payroll tax
House Democrats would not give any of these bills a public hearing. These proposals would make our state tax code less regressive.
Republican media availability
No one in the Legislature understands our state budget and tax policy better than Rep. Drew Stokesbary. In our Republican media availability on Tuesday, he explained how state lawmakers can use record tax collections to provide tax relief to working families. And he’s absolutely right. You can watch his remarks here.
Update on emergency powers reform | House Bill 1772
I mentioned last week that our emergency powers reform legislation, House Bill 1772, would receive a public hearing on Monday. I am happy to report more than 5,200 people signed in to support the measure. This is impressive and shows how much energy is behind this reform. You can watch Rep. Chris Corry’s testimony on his bill here. Please share this video with others.
House Republicans have been talking about emergency powers reform since 2020 and momentum is now on our side. We appreciate the support of editorial boards across the state, most recently the Everett Herald, and the media coverage on this issue. It will be one of the big storylines in the next month. I think Democrats know they need to do something and Senate Bill 5909 may be their preferred approach. We look forward to the debates ahead.
State lawmakers reached their first deadline yesterday: policy committee cutoff. Looking ahead to next week, Monday will be fiscal committee cutoff and Tuesday will be the midway point of the legislative session. We expect to work long hours on the House floor beginning on Tuesday and possibly into the weekend.
Rep. J.T. Wilcox
House Republican Leader