Although neither legislative budget plan includes general tax relief, advocates of tax reduction continue to make their case. A lot can happen in the closing days of a legislative session.
Association of Washington Business president Kris Johnson writes,
Between the surging state treasury and a $2.1 billion drop in the cost of continuing services, lawmakers now have roughly $14 billion surplus to work with as they enter the final days of the legislative session, not counting billions in one-time federal relief funds and state reserves.
All of this means there has never been a better time for budget-writers to be champions for the economy and to provide needed tax relief and support for Washington employers and employees.
As Johnson writes, states across the country are offering broad-based general tax relief after an influx of federal cash and a recovering economy have swelled state treasuries. He continues,
Here in Washington, lawmakers have introduced some tax relief bills this year, but it’s not clear which if any will be adopted by the time lawmakers adjourn March 10. The proposals include Senate Bill 5957, which would cut the business and occupation (B&O) tax for manufacturers roughly in half. Given unanimous passage last year of a bill calling on the state to double the manufacturing sector in Washington in 10 years, it would be an especially timely move.
Lawmakers, he points out, have not been reluctant to raise taxes even as the state economy was growing.
Going into this year’s legislative session, Washington was on a three-year taxing streak that saw lawmakers raise 22 different taxes that will generate $40 billion over 10 years.
Now, in the final days of the session, lawmakers have the opportunity to not only bring the streak to an end, but to reverse it. There’s still time — in fact, there’s never been a better time — to be champions for the economy.
We’ll see. More on calls for tax relief at The Center Square.