Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This legislative session is entering its final weeks. Barring a special session, we have just over a month to go before we are scheduled to adjourn for another year. We have addressed many issues so far in 2021, and just over 200 bills passed out of the House before policy cutoff on Tuesday, March 9.
Like most years, the majority party has introduced new tax policies this session that would hurt the people of Washington. However, there is no need for new taxes, or increasing current ones.
Coming into this session, the state's fiscal outlook was still a little shaky after the effects of the pandemic and ongoing shutdown. However, that still was not a good reason to raise taxes. So many families and small businesses are still struggling financially. The last thing they need is the government taking more of their money.
They have shown remarkable resiliency throughout this crisis and demonstrated selflessness, patience, innovation, and responsibility. They should not be rewarded by short-sighted, harmful, and unnecessary tax burdens.
After this week's revenue forecast, it is even more clear that state government does not need to raise our taxes.
The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released and adopted its latest state revenue forecast on Wednesday, March 17. As compared to the November 2020 forecast, Near General Fund-Outlook revenue increased by $1.34 billion for 2019-21 and by $1.95 billion for 2021-23.
So, based on the latest forecast, state tax revenue for 2021-23 is projected to be $56.6 billion, which represents an increase of 8.2% over the current biennium. With the state revenue forecast alone, we are now expected to be back to essentially pre-pandemic income levels.
That doesn't even take into consideration the billions of dollars Washington's state and local governments are expected to receive from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Washington will receive $7.1 billion for state ($4.25 billion + $189 million for state capitol projects) and local governments ($2.66 billion) as well as an additional $635 million for child care, almost $1.9 billion for K-12 schools, and $655 million for higher education.
If these projections do not change, our state and local governments will have received more than $24 billion in federal stimulus funds over the past 12 months.
However, we cannot forget the thousands of families and small businesses that are still facing a financial crisis. We must do everything we can to help them and creating new taxes will only cause more pain. They have followed the shutdown orders despite great personal loss and pulled together for more than a year of uncertainty. They don't deserve even greater burdens from state lawmakers.
The government has more than enough money to operate without creating additional taxes, including the capital gains income tax that was recently approved in the Senate 25-24. Make no mistake, this is an income tax – which is illegal under the state constitution – and it would be another step in the wrong direction for Washington. It is also an additional attempt by the majority party to implement a statewide income tax.
I strongly oppose this tax policy and any others that would only hurt Washingtonians. Instead of tax increases, the Legislature should be looking for ways to provide tax relief. Our focus should be on helping those who are still hurting from the pandemic shutdown.
Please stay in touch
I want to remind you that you can still contact me with your input, questions, and concerns. My door is always open, whether it's virtual or in-person. Thank you for your continued support and trust. It's an honor to serve the people of the 18th District.