From the Washington House Republicans
It’s day 26 of the 60-day session. As we head toward the midway point, the two signature pieces of legislation passed by House Democrats this year would increase the cost of living for Washingtonians and raise the cost of doing business for many employers.
Both measures were opposed by House Republicans. I discuss these issues in my weekly video update.
Low-carbon fuel standard
Last week, House Democrats passed a low-carbon fuel standard that would increase the cost of gas, diesel and products in our state — with little benefit to our air quality. While House Bill 1110 passed the House, it had bipartisan opposition.
According to this article, “multiple lawmakers said there doesn’t seem to be enough support to pass the measure out of the Senate.” That’s good news. But we can’t take anything for granted. We must again stop this bill in the Senate — like we did last year.
More taxes on employers, costs for consumers
This week, Democrats fast-tracked Senate Bill 6492 through the legislative process and it will be signed into law on Monday. The measure attempts to clean up the mess created by a bill they passed at the end of the 2019 legislative session.
The bill from last year created an entitlement for workforce education through a new B&O tax surcharge on businesses providing certain services. It was poorly written and difficult to administer.
While the new legislation will bring the B&O tax rate for the smallest businesses back to where it was before the increase last year, it’s still a major tax increase that will be felt by our economy. According to the Department of Revenue, the legislation will expand the tax increase to an estimated 4,000 new businesses. In total, an estimated 14,000 businesses that employ 886,000 people will see an increase.
This new change alone will collect around $234 million in additional taxes over a two-year period. Raising taxes on professions that are trying to address our state’s challenges — like health care and home building — is counterproductive. We know these new costs will be passed along to consumers.
At a time of record tax collections for our state, Democrats continue to ask for more. The financial attack on our taxpayers and employers must stop. And House Republicans are united in this belief.
Rep. J.T. Wilcox House Republican Leader (360) 786-7912