State senators call on governor to suspend long-term care insurance tax

MyNorthwest reports state senators from both parties want to see the state’s long-term care insurance legislation fixed and are calling on the governor to act now. The letter they sent the governor sets out their concerns. They point out that the governor has made use of his emergency powers to suspend state statutes during the pandemic.

With the emergency still in effect, we are requesting that you suspend the fast-approaching tax assessment and deadline for employees to opt out of the new long-term services and supports trust program.

As you know, unless they become exempt from the program, employees across Washington will soon begin paying an assessment every time they receive a paycheck. Many employees are seeking to become exempt from the new tax in this fragile economy, but they face a November 1 deadline to acquire insurance that is currently unavailable. Your intervention to suspend the tax and insurance purchase deadline would provide temporary relief to employees who face a major new tax and give time for the Legislature to work on a solution.

Furthermore, the Legislature is aware of the need to address some key issues that have been called to your attention by a diverse coalition of stakeholders. These include better defining the opt-out process, addressing employees who reside in neighboring states, determining whether veterans’ benefits qualify for opt-out, and avoiding additional disruptions of the private insurance market, among several others.

MyNorthwest writes,

The coalition features prominent lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, including Republicans John Braun, Phil Fortunato, Mike Padden, and Judy Warnick, and Democrats Mark Mullet, Steve Hobbs, and Tim Sheldon, among others, totaling 23 state senators in all.

Earlier we wrote about a similar appeal sent to the governor by a business, labor, and local government coalition numbering more than 160 groups.