The following newsletter was sent to subscribers to Sen. Ericksen’s newsletter, Jan. 29, 2019. To subscribe to Sen. Ericksen’s newsletters, click here.
Taxpayer protection plan keeps state on right track
- Puts state government on a budget and returns excess tax dollars to taxpayers
- Reduces state sales tax
- Provides tax incentive for Washington manufacturers
We have a gusher of tax money flowing into state coffers – a record $5 billion in new tax collections for the next two years. It’s time for the Washington Legislature to give some of that money back to the people who paid it.
That’s why I have introduced a taxpayer protection package in Olympia, to make the case for tax cuts and responsible spending.
Too often, lawmakers assume they are free to spend every penny they receive – and then they tell us it is still not enough. The governor this year has proposed a $10 billion spending increase, and big new taxes to pay for it. Yet tax collections are up nearly 50 percent since 2013, and there has been no meaningful effort to reduce Washington’s tax burden.
We can do better. When our economy is strong, we need to establish sensible spending priorities, to avoid taking on obligations we can’t afford in the future. We should encourage new family-wage manufacturing jobs. And most importantly, we should allow the people of the state to share in Washington’s good fortune.
What’s in the package?
SB 5609 – Property-tax “kicker” — When tax collections are excessive, this bill would require the Legislature to use the money for one-time expenses or property tax reductions — potentially billions in tax relief. This bill builds on the spending limits approved by Washington voters with Initiative 601 in 1993. Spending growth is limited to the rate of inflation plus population, and the bill prohibits the accounting trickery that has allowed lawmakers to evade I-601 spending limits.
SB 5608 – Reduces business tax rates for all manufacturers, providing new incentives for good-paying jobs. All manufacturers would get the same low tax rate we give to Boeing.
SB 5610 – Reduces the state sales tax rate by half a percent, from 6.5 percent to 6 percent. This would return $1.7 billion to Washington taxpayers every two years. We’ll see the payoff in more sales, more jobs and a brighter future for Whatcom County and our state.
I hope you will join with me in supporting these important measures to keep our economy strong.
A bad-hair day for heavy-handed lawmakers
When majority Democrats in the Senate proposed banning booth rentals in beauty parlors, they weren’t reckoning on the wrath of the state’s hairdressers. Hundreds came to Olympia Monday to protest SB 5326, which would force cosmetologists to work as employees, rather than as independent contractors.
This bill is part of a long-running effort by organized labor groups to all-but-eliminate independent contracting in Washington. Proposals like these are bad news for people who can make a better living working for themselves. Cosmetologists told the committee that independent contracting offers them a living wage and the freedom to set their own hours. Traditional employment does not.
Stung by the outcry, the bill’s sponsor said she would drop the ban on booth rentals – but her bill still would impose heavy employment taxes on independent beauticians and barbers. Another proposal this year (HB 1515, SB 5513) expands state restrictions on contract workers and imposes harsh penalties on employers. The hardworking people of Washington deserve our respect, and ought to be able to make a living as best they see fit.
Washington Policy Center/ Wenatchee World: Tax increase advocates seek court aid to bring income taxes to the state
Washington Ag Network/ Rep. Mary Dye: Completing the Columbia Basin Project would be a game-changer for our region
Ellensburg Daily Record: Last dairy farm in the valley ending operations
Associated Press: Wyoming lawmakers look to sue Washington state over coal
Phone: (360) 786-7682
Mail: P.O. Box 40442, Olympia, WA 98504