Democrats fail to provide meaningful tax relief, despite historic $15 billion budget surplus

One of the biggest storylines of the 2022 legislative session was the Democrats’ failure to provide meaningful tax relief, despite a historic $15 billion budget surplus. In contrast, Republicans introduced several proposals that would have provided real tax relief and made life more affordable for all Washingtonians.

House Republicans also introduced a 2022 supplemental operating budget framework focused on Safety, Affordability, Families and the Economy (SAFE Washington Budget). This framework included a reduction in the state sales tax rate and other tax relief that would have lowered costs for consumers. Learn more below.

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SAFE Washington Budget

Making appropriations that prioritize Safety, Affordability, Families, and the Economy

For Safer Communities ($4.85 billion over four years)

  • Funds police officer signing and retention bonuses, body cameras, and additional basic law enforcement training classes to ensure that Washington no longer ranks last in the nation in officers per capita ($100M)
  • Redirects sales tax paid on motor vehicles and transportation projects to the transportation budget to keep our roads safe and reduce congestion without imposing new taxes or fees ($1.7B per year)

For Affordable Living ($5.5 billion over four years)

  • Reduces the state sales tax rate by a full percentage point to combat skyrocketing inflation, currently running at 7.6%, the highest rate in over forty years ($2.3B per year)
  • Repeals the state payroll tax and insolvent Long-Term Care Trust in favor of a privately managed program that leverages existing state revenue to make long-term care coverage both affordable and optional ($760M per year not collected from employees)

For Families and Students ($380 million over four years)

  • Extends one-time assistance to 133 less affluent schools districts, in addition to the $2 billion in federal stimulus funding still available to school districts ($80M)
  • Provides funding for COVID testing, outbreak response, and expanded vaccine access so that families can get back to work and kids can stay in school ($300M)

For Economic Growth ($439 million over four years)

  • Lowers the B&O tax for manufacturing and trucking by 40% and expands an existing tax preference for food processors, encouraging job growth, supply chain resiliencies, and lower costs for consumers ($110M per year)
  • Provides one-time grants to sectors hit hard by the pandemic, including hotels and restaurants, so they can recover faster and restore more jobs ($215M)

Learn more