Statement from House Republicans on governor’s announcement to delay long-term care insurance/tax program

Gov. Jay Inslee has announced an agreement to delay implementation of the state's new long-term care insurance program and payroll tax that was set to begin Jan. 1, 2022. Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, ranking Republican on the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, and Rep. Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, the prime sponsor of House Bill 1594 that would repeal the program and tax, issued the following statements:

Rep. Joe Schmick

“I'm glad that we can take another look at this very controversial proposal. It has not much garnered public support at all. We now have a chance to go back to the drawing board. My continued preference would be for a complete repeal.  If that's not politically feasible, at least we should redraft the policy and start from scratch to make it more equitable, efficient, and economically solvent so that taxpayers down the road don't end up paying more for broken promises.”

Rep. Peter Abbarno

“This has been a train wreck from the very beginning. Representative Joe Schmick and I have been at the table all summer trying to discuss this issue and sending out warnings about the program's unpopularity and solvency. The fact that the governor, the Senate majority leader and the House speaker, who was the original sponsor of this legislation, have called for a delay in the collection of the payroll taxes is further evidence of the deep flaws in the program.

“The 'adjustments' the governor and majority Democrats say are needed might address concerns, but they won't actually make the program solvent. The non-partisan actuarial report from earlier this year clearly evidenced that this program is insolvent and will result in lower benefits or higher taxes. The only way to truly 'fix' this program is a full repeal as quickly as possible.

This is an unfair, unstable, unpopular, and regressive tax, rejected by nearly 63 percent of Washingtonians on a November 2019 statewide advisory ballot. Thirty-seven of 39 counties voted no. Voters in 44 out of 49 legislative districts voted no. That's a clear message that Washingtonians don't want to be forced into paying for an expensive program in which they may never see any benefit for their contribution. We need to hit the reset button and repeal this troubled program and regressive payroll tax.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications