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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Here's a quick update on what's happening in Olympia. We've officially entered the third week of the 60-day legislative session. During short sessions, the Legislature makes minor adjustments to the current two-year budget.

But 2022 isn't a typical year. It's one for the history books. The Legislature has an extraordinary amount of surplus revenue — more than $8 billion.

What does that mean for you and me? It would be fitting for the Legislature to offer Washingtonians some kind of tax relief this year. Unfortunately, instead of approving tax relief legislation, it looks as if the majority party plans to spend most of the state's extra tax revenue.

2022 Supplemental budget | Tax relief

There is a high cost to taxpayers when the government overspends, and it's not simply about taxes. History shows that high government expenditures often hurt the economy. Why is that? Because there's not enough gain or benefit, since it's offset by what taxpayers need to pay to sustain it.

Making the government bigger hurts the private sector — on which the government is wholly dependent for its spending habits. Taxes reduce private sector investments. When the private sector flourishes, it creates more jobs with higher salaries.

If the aim is to help Washingtonians as they recover financially from the pandemic, we need to stimulate the economy, not burden it. That means approving bills like House Bill 1858, sponsored by Representative Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, that would lower the business and occupation (B&O) tax rate for manufacturing.

We can also well afford some direct tax relief for individuals and families. Based on the vast resources available in our budget this year, it would be a travesty if the government didn't do that.

Let's put some money back in the pockets of taxpayers!

People — unlike the government — tend to spend their extra money wisely. Many of the things that they buy — items that help themselves and their families, including household repairs, appliances, food, clothing, and home office equipment — make our economy stronger. Those purchases bolster the private sector, encourage investment, and stimulate job creation.

I was pleased to see that Democratic Senator Mona Das, 47th District, a leader in the majority party, offered legislation this session that would reduce the state sales tax. That simple change would give Washingtonians about $2 billion in tax relief. Senate Bill 5932 would make everything more affordable, with the vast majority of the benefit going to working families.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Senate Bill 5932 is very popular with the senator's Democratic colleagues. The bill has yet to get a hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. That delay is not a good sign on the long road to approval. We only have a short few weeks to hear bills. It looks like this bill will be allowed to “die” without even being considered.

Republican Senator Lynda Wilson, 17th District, has also introduced Senate Bill 5769 that would reform the state tax system by providing direct tax relief to residents, employees, and employers. There's better news on this bill because it has been scheduled for consideration in the Senate Business, Financial Services and Trade Committee.

Here are a couple of other bills that would help taxpayers:

Long-term payroll tax delay | House Bill 1732 and House Bill 1733

Legislation related to the controversial long-term care insurance program and its accompanying payroll tax was approved by the House last week. This program is deeply unpopular with voters. Nearly 63% of voters said the legislation should be repealed through Advisory Vote No. 20 in 2019.

Learn more about the long-term care insurance program and its regressive payroll tax here.

The House debated and voted out two bills related to this issue last Wednesday. House Bill 1732 would delay implementation of the program by 18 months and move premium collections out to July 1, 2023. The second, House Bill 1733, would create four new voluntary exemptions from the program. 

Both bills appear to be on the fast track to the governor's desk. Here's why that's a problem: instead of delaying the long-term care insurance and payroll tax, it should be repealed.

The program is insolvent. It is clear the numbers don't work. This means premiums will probably have to be increased in the future. You can read what our State Actuary had to say here

House Bill 1732 and House Bill 1733 are now in the Senate, where they're scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Thank you!

Please let me know if you have questions, comments, or concerns about items in this email update or the legislative session. Your input and feedback are appreciated.

It is an honor to serve the great people of the 10th Legislative District!

In your service,

Greg Gilday

State Representative Greg Gilday, 10th Legislative District
404 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 939-1211 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000