Social and Economic Policy
Adopt fair revenue policies to adequately fund services and functions critical to the well-being of the people of our state.
The LWV of the United States, as stated in its Impact on Issues 2020-22, believes that “federal fiscal policy should provide for: adequate and flexible funding of federal government programs through an equitable tax system that is progressive overall and that relies primarily on a broad-based income tax; responsible deficit policies; and a federal role in providing mandatory, universal, old-age, survivors, disability, and health insurance.” The LWV of Washington’s State Tax Policy, as defined in the Program in Action 2019-2021, states: “Action to obtain a balanced tax structure that is fair, adequate, flexible, and has a sound economic effect.”
In 2021, the capital gains tax and working families tax exemption were passed, contributing to a more equitable tax structure once both have been implemented. The revenue proposal most likely to be considered in 2022 is the wealth tax, though there are others listed below. The Tax Structure Work Group has not yet completed its work and is not likely to make recommendations until the end of 2022, for the 2023 legislative session. A number of other revenue bills are not listed below because they do not have the scope of those that are listed; however, the League will monitor revenue legislation and support or oppose those that emerge as most significant. The League will support legislation in 2022 that assures adequate funding for services and is both sustainable and equitable.
In addition, there are proposals to create a public bank. The League will support public bank legislation consistent with the position on privatization, “Core services, functions and assets critical to the well-being of the people, should remain with government and not be transferred to the private sector.”
League priority bills are in bold below.
|House Bills||House||Senate||After Passage|
|Bill #||Bill Name (Brief Title)||League Position||Take Action||In Committee||On Floor Calendar||Passed||In Committee||On Floor Calendar||Passed||Passed Legislature||On Governor's Desk||Signed|
|HB 1643||Exempting a sale or transfer of real property for affordable housing to a nonprofit entity, housing authority, public corporation, county, or municipal corporation from the real estate excise tax||Supports||x
|HB 1765||Ensuring the ongoing sustainability and vitality of the Washington health benefit exchange by eliminating the expiration date of its business and occupation tax exemption.||Supports||x
|HB 1789||Establishing a property tax exemption for adult family homes serving people with intellectual or developmental disabilities and owned by a nonprofit.||Supports||x
|HB 1841||Incentivizing rental of accessory dwelling units to low-income households.||Supports||x
|HB 2096||Concerning the working families' tax exemption, also known as the working families tax credit||Supports||x
These weekly updates will provide you with a "deep dive" into the progress of each bill, along with more analysis of the potential impact of the bill if it should pass.
HB 1789 Establishing a property tax exemption for adult family homes serving people with intellectual or developmental disabilities and owned by a nonprofit. Establishing a property tax exemption for adult family homes serving people with intellectual or developmental disabilities and owned by a nonprofit.
HB 1841 Incentivizing rental of accessory dwelling units to low-income households. This bill exempts improvements to ADUs from additional property tax for the duration of the period during which the ADU is rented to a low-income household.
HB 2096 Concerning the working families' tax exemption, also known as the working families tax credit, would make technical changes to the working families tax credit adopted in 2021. These changes add clarifications that are needed to make the tax credit more functional.
SB 5901 Concerning economic development tax incentives for targeted counties, would incentivize job growth through manufacturing and research and development activities in certain counties that face additional economic development challenges beyond the challenges faced by counties located in the central Puget Sound region. It would also modify the tax exemption for warehouses, distribution centers, and grain elevators. An application process with specific criteria is included.
SJM 8006 Concerning a national infrastructure bank would put Washington State on record as supporting establishment of a national infrastructure bank and specifically as proposed in HR 3339.
Bills the League Supported that HAVE Passed
HB 1643 Exempting a sale or transfer of real property for affordable housing to a nonprofit entity, housing authority, public corporation, county, or municipal corporation from the real estate excise tax.
HB 1765 Ensuring the ongoing sustainability and vitality of the Washington health benefit exchange by eliminating the expiration date of its business and occupation tax exemption.
SB 5713 Providing a tax exemption for limited equity cooperative housing
SB 5868 Expanding the use of the rural counties public facilities sales and use tax to include affordable workforce housing.
Bills the League Supported that Did Not Pass
SB 5188 Concerning the creation of the Washington state public bank. This bill would authorize establishment of a public bank k as a cooperative membership organization to lend to state, local, and tribal governmental entities. It is widely understood that such a bank would allow lower interest rates for governments borrowing from the bank, thereby saving taxpayer money. Its most recently amended version changed the proposal to a public financial cooperative as a membership organization to lend to local and tribal governmental entities. The details within each substitute bill will determine whether or not the League continues to support the proposal.
SB 5513 Relates to expanding flexibility of existing lodging taxes for affordable workforce housing
SB 5654 Ensuring the ongoing sustainability and vitality of the Washington health benefit exchange by eliminating the expiration date of its business and occupation tax exemption. Ensuring the ongoing sustainability and vitality of the Washington health benefit exchange by eliminating the expiration date of its business and occupation tax exemption.
SB 5769 Reforming the state tax system by providing tax relief to residents, employees, and employers, would radically change property tax, remove the business and occupation tax on manufacturing and repeal the recently adopted capital gains tax. These actions are inconsistent with the planning being done by the tax structure work group and would unbalance the tax code as well as significantly reduce revenue necessary for important services.
HB 1025 Concerning local parks funding options. Concerning local parks funding options. This bill would allow cities, counties or metropolitan park districts to enact, with voter approval, a 1/10 of one percent local option sales tax to fund park services. This bill is consistent with League position PO-3: League supports citizen information, education, and participation in city, county and regional park and open space programs to ensure that present and future needs are met.
HB 1035 Providing local governments with options to grant rent relief and preserve affordable housing in their communities
HB 1406/SB 5426 Improving the equity of Washington state's tax code by creating the Washington state wealth tax and taxing extraordinary financial intangible assets. This bill would establish a one percent wealth tax on intangible financial assets of more than $1 billion.
HB 1460 Closing the digital divide by establishing excise taxes on telecommunications services to fund the expansion of the universal service programs in Washington. The original bill would have provided additional services for specific populations, funded by an excise tax deposited into a statewide broadband account. As most recently revised, the substitute bill is far more limited and would establish a Digital Equity Opportunity Grant Program and the Digital Equity Planning Grant Program.
HB 1465 Making the estate tax more progressive by exempting small estates, reducing estate taxes on medium estates, increasing the estate tax on larger estates, and addressing equity in homeownership and homelessness. This bill would exclude the estate tax on estates valued at under $2.5 million and shift the tax rate on estates in excess of $3 million, with a greater rate at higher estate values. Ten percent of the revenues collected from the estate tax would be deposited to a new Equity in Housing Account. This account would be designated for addressing homelessness, including foreclosure prevention, rental assistance, outreach engagement services, housing services, and behavioral health, with priority for agencies, programs, and services which address current and historical racial inequities.
HB 1672 Concerning local property tax levies for conservation futures. If passed, this bill would exempt property taxes levied for conservation futures from the current limit on growth of property tax, as of 2023. This bill is consistent with League position CD-1, which is that Conservation Districts have a unique role with landowners to encourage conservation of all resources and the League supports that independent role; and PE-1: Exemptions from property tax should be limited but may be valid when used to further public policy such as encouraging education, cultural or humanitarian causes.
HB 2009 Creating the evergreen basic income trust, would provide direct cash assistance for up to 36 months to individuals at or under 50% of area median income and meet an array of other criteria, to increase financial stability among people and families struggling to cover essential expenses. This is consistent with the LWVUS position that the most effective social programs are those designed to prevent or reduce poverty. Persons who are unable to work, whose earnings are inadequate, or for whom jobs are not available have the right to an income and/or services sufficient to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and access to health care.