Crunch time for the state budget: Will talk of compromise lead to agreement?

Friday Gov. Jay Inslee lifted the cone of silence to disclose progress in state budget negotiations. He said the capital gains tax sought by House Democrats was out and advanced what he called a middle ground approach. Without getting too specific, he said he favored closing “tax loopholes” to close a gap of $300 million to $350 million that separates the budget proposals of the two chambers.

Today, the House will hold an Appropriations Committee hearing on their new spending proposal and an associated revenue package (bill analysis). The proposed sources of new revenues will be familiar. Some of them are listed below; follow the link for the full list.

  • Eliminates the preferential B&O tax rate of 0.138 percent for resellers of prescription drugs.
  • Repeals the sales and use tax exemption for bottled water. 
  • Changes the nonresident sales and use tax exemption for tangible personal property into a remittance program. 
  • Narrows the use tax exemption for extracted fuel. 
  • Eliminates the preferential B&O tax rate of 0.484 percent for royalty income. 

The Washington Research Council has more on other bills the committee will be considering. The hearing is scheduled for 3:00, with  committee action anticipated tomorrow. 

It’s encouraging to see budget developments moving toward legislative action. But there’s a lot of work that needs to be accomplished in a short time. And, at least some elements of the House revenue proposal will receive a skeptical reception in the Senate.

The Seattle Times editorial board also points out that lawmakers’ work won’t be completed until they also fund a comprehensive transportation package

The dominos should tumble quickly this week.