fair & Adequate revenue

Adopt fair revenue policies to adequately fund services and functions critical to the well-being of the people of our state.

Issue Team Chair: Nora Leech – nleech [at] lwvwa.org – (206) 622-8961
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Right Now In Fair & Adequate Revenue 

*Action Alert* Please contact your legislators by clicking here and ask that they vote in in support of new and progressive revenue to invest in our state. The House and Senate have adopted their respective budgets and are currently in earnest negotiations to create a final budget. Anticipated revenues and expenditure levels need to be reconciled.

Increased revenues are needed to continue the work to address the McCleary lawsuit, to address the mental health lawsuit and for new needs, such as homelessness programs. 

    • Excise tax on sales and extraordinary profits of high valued assets (commonly called capital gains) that would generate new revenue while affecting a very small percentage of the population.
    • The change in Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) basis to make it more progressive as well as generate increased revenue,
    • A surtax on insurance premiums that will generate funding that would be dedicated to wildfire prevention and suppression.
    • Changes in tax exemptions for non-residents and certain services.
    • Changes in the Business & Occupation tax (a tax paid on business revenue) for prescription drug sellers.
    • Removal of certain Business and Occupation Tax preferences (bullion dealers, travel agents and tour operators).
    • Replace the out-of-state sales tax exemption with a mechanism allowing for refunds.
    • Increase the Business and Occupation tax rate for certain categories of business, with those funds dedicated to higher education.

These will make the most difference on both sides of the budget ledger. They will make the tax structure less regressive and more fair; and they will allow resources for programs that would otherwise not be funded. 

There is opposition from special interests to all of these proposed changes to the tax structure, which is why we need to push hard and let our legislators know how important they are.

    Bills the League Supports
    • HB 1703 Increasing tax exemption transparency and accountability. The Department of Revenue report on all tax exemptions and their fiscal impact would be updated every 2 years instead of 4 years. Any tax exemption that has NO sunset and reduces revenues by over $50,000/year or $100,000/biennium would appear in the budget documents and have to be proactively reauthorized as part of the budget or it would sunset. If the Legislature has taken no action on reviewing and clarifying or adding a sunset on a tax exemption which the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee and Citizens Commission on Tax Preferences have recommended to be ended or clarified, and the tax exemption reduces revenues by over $50,000/year or $100,000/biennium, then the exemption would appear in the budget documents and require re-adoption in the budget or it would sunset.
    • 2SHB 2117 / SB 5973 Providing a pathway to modernize and rebalance the Washington state tax structure so that it is equitable, adequate, stable, and transparent for the people of Washington state.
    Bills the League is Watching
    • HB 1109 Operating budgets 2019-21 Making biennium appropriations.
    • HB 1219 Providing cities and counties authority to use real estate excise taxes to support affordable housing and homelessness projects. Passed the House, 74-24.
    • SB 5961 Improving the equity and sustainability of Washington's tax structure.

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