Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its quarterly state revenue forecast this week. Because of lower caseloads (entitlement programs and services) and a strong economy in much of the state, we're anticipating record tax revenues.
According to Chief Economist and Executive Director Steve Lerch, the revenue forecast has been increased by $647 million for the 2017-19 budget cycle and by $671 million for the 2019-21 budget cycle. This is over $1.3 billion over the next four years!
We already have a healthy rainy day fund (Budget Stabilization Account), estimated to be around $1.7 billion at the end of 2021. Is it time to give some money back to hardworking taxpayers?
While House Democrats are pushing for numerous new and increased taxes (carbon tax, sugar tax, state income tax), House Republicans have introduced several bills to give money back to taxpayers.
House Bill 2303 would reduce the state portion of the property tax, taking it from 81 cents per $1,000 assessed value back to 50 cents. This would “cost” the state around $350 million but it would put money in the pockets of home owners who are seeing their property taxes go up.
Another bill, House Bill 2978, would reduce the state sales tax from 6.5 percent to 6.25 percent. Again, putting more money back into the hands of taxpayers.
One of the bills I've sponsored this year, House Bill 2672, would provide a B&O (business and occupation) tax reduction for small businesses.
What do you think? Do you support giving more money back to taxpayers? If so, which idea would you support: property tax relief, sales tax relief, small business B&O tax relief – or a combination of the three? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue.
I hope you can join us next week for our 9th District telephone town hall. It is an honor to serve you in the state House of Representatives.