Blog

May 24 , 2021 - Emily Makings

A new phone tax to fund the 988 behavioral health hotline

This session, the Legislature imposed a new tax on telephone lines. Collections will fund the statewide 988 behavioral health crisis response hotline. In legislation enacted last year, Congress made 988 “the universal telephone number within the United States for the purpose of the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system.” E2SHB 1477 imposes […]


May 14 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Tax cuts and the coronavirus state and local fiscal recovery funds

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s interim final rule for the coronavirus state and local fiscal recovery funds discusses allowable uses of the funds (see here and here). It also details what the funds may not be used for. Jurisdictions may not use the money to make contributions to rainy day funds or to make […]


May 03 , 2021 - Kriss Sjoblom

Capital gains bill passed

When I last wrote about the capital gains tax, the House Finance Committee had just passed an amended version of the Senate-passed bill. On April 21, the House passed the Finance Committee version. On April 22, the Senate declined to concur with the House’s amendments. A conference committee was then named, and that committee crafted […]


April 26 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Legislators didn’t need to cut spending this year because there was no budget shortfall, but transfer of reserves could leave budget vulnerable

The Legislature adjourned yesterday, on schedule. Legislators passed a 2021–23 operating budget that appropriates $59.193 billion from funds subject to the outlook. The Seattle Times reports, “Democratic budget writers hailed the spending plan as a bold investment that will pay dividends. They said they don’t want to repeat the steep and counterproductive spending reductions that […]


April 23 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Washington already has sufficient revenues to fund its paramount duty, and then some

Yesterday Kriss wrote about the version of the capital gains tax bill that the House passed this week. The intent section of the bill states, The legislature finds that it is the paramount duty of the state to amply provide every child in the state with an education, creating the opportunity for the child to […]


April 23 , 2021 - Emily Makings

New working families’ tax exemption will provide up to $1,200 per year to low-income Washingtonians

The Legislature has passed ESHB 1297. As passed, a working families’ tax exemption will be provided for certain individuals for sales taxes paid after Jan. 1, 2022. (The first payments will be made in FY 2023.) Individuals are eligible if they are also eligible for the federal earned income tax credit (or would qualify for […]


April 22 , 2021 - Kriss Sjoblom

House passes capital gains bill

Emily and I have written previously about the Senate’s progressive capital gains tax bill ESSB 5096 (here, here, here and here), which the Senate passed on March 6. On Friday (April 16) the House Finance Committee took up the bill in executive session, adopted a striking amendment, and passed the amended bill. Yesterday (April 21) […]


April 21 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Seven cities will again receive payments to mitigate sales tax revenue loss, through FY 2026

Gov. Inslee has signed ESHB 1521. Under the bill, the state will restart payments to certain local taxing districts to mitigate “the negative fiscal impacts to local taxing jurisdictions as a result of the streamlined sales and use tax agreement.” The payments will equal the payment each local taxing district received on June 30, 2020. […]


April 16 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Businesses that lost 25% of revenues last year may ask for property tax deferrals under bill signed today

Today Gov. Inslee signed ESHB 1332. The bill requires county treasurers to grant due date extensions for property taxes payable in 2021 for businesses that lost at least 25% of their revenue from leasing or renting the property or from their business activities at the property in CY 2020 (compared to CY 2019). Requests for […]


April 16 , 2021 - Emily Makings

To fund housing programs, bill would impose a $100 document recording surcharge

The House-passed operating budget assumes passage of HB 1277. As passed by the House, E2SHB 1277 would impose a $100 surcharge on recorded documents. (Some documents would be exempt from the surcharge, including documents recording births and marriages.) Of the revenues from the surcharge, 5% would go to the affordable housing for all account (for […]