UPDATE In response to last night’s House Appropriations Committee advancing of HB 2158, the Association of Washington Business has issued an action alert, calling on members to urge legislators to tap the brakes on spending.
Yesterday, with just three days left in the regular legislative session, budget-writing legislators appear to have agreed to a revenue and expenditure package. Details were not publicly available, as Joseph O’Sullivan and other reporters noted in their Twitter feeds.
O’Sullivan’s Seattle Times report describes last night’s activity and the outlines of the agreement.
Democratic budget writers for the Washington House and Senate on Thursday afternoon announced that they had reached a tentative deal on a new two-year state operating budget.
The announcement, made in a news statement, didn’t release any details on the deal — and indicated some final work must still be done to complete it.
“We have reached a tentative budget agreement between the two chambers and look forward to finishing our work on a final budget by the end of the legislative session on Sunday,” reads the joint statement by Sen. Christine Rolfes of Bainbridge Island and Rep. Timm Ormsby of Spokane.
Details include addressing school levies and the tax proposals. A graduated real estate excise tax bill passed the Senate last night, as did another bill “eliminating or narrowing tax preference to increase state revenues.” Also yesterday the House Appropriations Committee adopted a “workforce education investment” funded through adjustments in B&O taxes paid by select industries,
O’Sullivan describes the workforce investment.
House Bill 2158 would among other things apply a surcharge to a handful of Washington’s biggest tech companies. That money would be used to make college and apprenticeships more affordable, according to Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, sponsor of the bill.
He also reports the capital gains tax favored by the governor and House Democrats continues to face headwinds.
A capital-gains proposal has always faced an uncertain fate in the Senate, where three of the chamber’s 28 Democrats late last year said they opposed the governor’s version.
Conservatives have argued that a capital-gains tax is unconstitutional, meaning it would almost immediately face a court challenge.
Today and tomorrow will see a lot of activity, without a lot of time for public review.