Ericksen introduces taxpayer protection plan

  • Puts state government on a budget and returns excess tax dollars to taxpayers
  • Reduces state sales tax
  • Provides tax incentive for Washington taxpayers

OLYMPIA – As a gusher of tax money flows into state coffers – a record $5 billion more than the Legislature’s last budget – state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, says lawmakers ought to give some of that money back to the people who paid it.

Ericksen has introduced a taxpayer protection package that puts an emphasis on tax cuts and responsible spending.

“Too often, lawmakers assume they are free to spend every penny they receive, and then they tell us it’s still not enough,” Ericksen said. “By the end of this next biennium, tax collections will have increased nearly 50 percent since 2013, yet there has been no meaningful taxpayer relief. It’s time for us to put taxpayers first.”

Ericksen’s plan strengthens spending limits approved by voters in 1993, and would force lawmakers to establish sensible spending priorities in good times, to avoid obligations the state would have difficulty sustaining in the future. The plan also would provide incentives for Washington manufacturers, cut the state sales tax, and enable reductions in the state property tax.

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. This bill builds on the spending limits approved in Initiative 601 in 1993, limiting the growth in state spending to a rate equal to population growth plus inflation. The bill prohibits accounting maneuvers that have allowed lawmakers to evade I-601 spending limits while they ramp up spending.

SB 5608 – Reduces business tax rates for all manufacturers, providing an incentive for new jobs in Washington state. All manufacturers would get the same low tax rate the state now extends to Boeing and the aerospace industry.

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 – and give the state economy a shot in the arm.