Governor, legislative leaders issue statement on decision to delay long-term care tax.

The governor has ordered that the long-term care tax be delayed pending legislative fixes to the flawed legislation, according to a joint statement from the governor’s office and House and Senate Democrats. Here’s the governor’s message.

“I have been in ongoing discussions with legislators about the long-term care bill, which is set to begin collecting funds in January. This bill will help provide much-needed care and coverage for Washingtonians as they age. However, legislators have identified some areas that need adjustments and I agree. We need to give legislators the opportunity to make refinements to the bill. Therefore, I am taking measures within my authority and ordering the state Employment Security Department not to collect the premiums from this program from employers before they come due in April. My actions mean that the state will not collect those funds until the Legislature sorts through these issues. While legislation is under consideration to pause the withholding of LTC fees, employers will not be subject to penalties and interest for not withholding fees from employees’ wages during this transition.” – Gov. Jay Inslee

The delay had been foreshadowed, as we wrote here. It’s a good first step, though there continue to be reasons lawmakers should reconsider the program in its entirety.