Gov. Inslee still no fan of the “levy swap”; will it be in the final budget compromise?

Yesterday we posted again on legislative proposals to increase the state property tax while reducing local levies (“levy swap”). There are several different approaches under consideration, as described in this Washington Research Council policy brief

At his press conference yesterday, Gov. Jay Inslee came out strongly against a Republican levy swap proposal.

Gov. Jay Inslee called on budget negotiators to compromise on revenue proposals to come to an agreement on the state’s 2015-17 biennial operating budget. However, Inslee criticized a proposal by Sen. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, that would increase funding for schools through a change in the school levy system.

Inslee expressed his support for a capital gains tax to increase revenues (also discussed in the WRC brief linked above).

A key Republican leader noted that the levy swap concept remains under development.

“Sen. Dammeier’s done a great job looking at this at different levels — at the state level, at the school district level, at the teacher level — what does it do for teachers and at the taxpayer level,” he said. “In a state where you do tax reform, it takes that kind of careful analysis to get it done right. And poking at draft one or the original run of the numbers doesn’t help the process.”

In 2012, candidate Inslee also rejected the levy swap. The concept has evolved since then. Over time, the idea has enjoyed bipartisan support (and opposition). The question now is whether the governor’s opposition is sufficient to remove it as an element of any 2015 budget compromise.