State after state announces records tax cuts but crickets in Washington

Jan 11, 2022

Our state leaders like to boast that we do things differently in Washington. Nowhere is that truer than when it comes to whether to provide citizens tax relief. For example, the Governor and Majority party legislative leaders this week were all asked if it should be a priority to provide tax relief with the record revenue surpluses being forecasted. Their short answer was no. Other states across the country, however, are considering major tax cuts. 

Here is how our state leaders responded to questions about tax relief.

The Governor pivoted away from the tax cut question, instead talking about all the spending needs he sees for the state (7:02 mark of TVW video).

The House Majority Leader said most of the billions in surplus revenues are "one-time funds," despite the fact the revenue forecast is projecting billions in growth over at least a four-year period (5:35 mark of TVW video).

Asked if a sales tax cut would be on the table, the Senate Majority Leader said we may see "targeted" tax relief, but broad-based tax cuts are unlikely since he believes we have so many spending needs facing the state (2:50 mark of TVW video).

In contrast, here are just a few of the bipartisan tax-cutting headlines from the across the country in just the last few days:

As for the capacity to provide tax relief in Washington state, here are the revenue forecast number changes since the 2021-23 budget was adopted.

This means the total four-year increase in projected revenue since lawmakers adopted the 2021-23 budget is $7.764 billion.

If Washington State can’t provide broad-based tax relief with the current revenue forecast and budget outlook, it’s hard to see when it ever will.

With a balanced budget, billions in reserves, and revenue projections continuing to exceed expectations, the case for sales tax relief is overwhelming.

Additional Information
The case for a Washington sales tax cut 
Cut the state sales tax for a brighter 2022 for all (Seattle Times oped)


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