While the laundry list of tax proposals continues to roll out – wealth tax, capital gains tax, health care tax, wireless devices tax – the justification for any tax hike this year remains absent. The Washington Research Council writes that the state budget condition continues to improve: There is no budget shortfall.
Geekwire reports that in a hearing this week on the proposed wealth tax, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price said, of the wealth tax, “We have a $3.3 billion budget deficit that needs to be closed. There’s an easy way to close it.”
Washington does not have a $3.3 billion budget deficit. The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council estimated in November that state revenues from funds subject to the outlook will be $3.3 billion below the projections made in February 2020 (over three years). However, collections have come in over forecast since then. Additionally, with actions taken by the governor last year, lower caseloads, and increased federal funding, the current budget is now in balance. (Over four years, the current budget has an estimated shortfall of about $289 million, but that could easily be covered by reserves.)
That’s good news, certainly. Odd that it’s so difficult for some to accept it.