Special Session Update
On Sunday, April 23rd, the Legislature adjourned without passing a new two-year budget for our state. The governor issued notice of a 30-day special session the next day. This means we are now going into overtime in order to complete our work.
Negotiating a budget for the entire state is complicated. It involves both parties and both chambers of the Legislature, as well as the governor. Everyone must come to the table to hash out their differences and reach a compromise. That’s why I’m disappointed that Senate Republicans have not made a good faith effort to begin negotiating.
House Democrats are focused on the state’s paramount duty: passing a budget that fully funds our public schools. And we want to do this in a way that upholds our values: putting families first and funding the critical human services that protect and care for our most vulnerable Washingtonians, like mental health services, public health, and housing programs.
Both the House and Senate agree more revenue is needed in order to fulfill our constitutional duty to fund schools without cutting the critical services mentioned above. But there is disagreement on where this revenue should come from. House Democrats don’t think working families, seniors, and our most vulnerable should have to shoulder the burden of the Senate Republicans’ proposed $5.5 billion property tax hike and massive cuts to state services.
Instead, we’ve proposed reforms to make our state’s regressive tax system more fair. This includes a capital gains tax proposal (see below) that I’ve sponsored in previous years. I’m pleased this option continues to be an important part of the revenue conversation.
So here’s where things currently stand: Senate Republicans have publicly and repeatedly said they won’t negotiate with us. Until they agree to come to the table and work in good faith, the clock will continue ticking on this special session without a final budget.
House Democrats are ready to get the job done for the 1.1 million kids in our public schools. I’m hopeful Senate Republicans will join us at the table soon.
In the meantime, the Senate will hold a public hearing tomorrow, April 26th, at 3:00 p.m. on a bill (SB 5929) identical to the House Democrats’ revenue proposal (HB 2186). While their intentions for introducing the bill may not be as positive as ours, it’s important to make your voices heard. I urge you to attend the hearing f you can make it.
How would a capital gains tax affect you? Chances are, it won’t.
In Washington state, the poorest among us to pay the highest percentage of income into funding our state. It’s time we ask the wealthiest individuals, who have been enjoying record Wall Street profits, to pay their fair share.
That’s why House Democrats are proposing we tax corporate profits, not paychecks. We can do that by ending tax breaks and unfair advantages that powerful interests have built into our system.
Our state is one of the few that doesn’t tax capital gains, which are corporate stocks, bonds, investment property, and other high-end financial assets.
A capital gains tax would impact only 48,000, or 1.5%, of tax payers in the entire state. Our proposal exempts exempts the sale of single-family homes, retirement accounts, and the sale of livestock, timber, and agricultural lands.
It cleans up our regressive tax code without hurting middle class families.
This will help us build a Washington that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.
A capital gains tax is part of the House Democrats’ revenue package. Other parts of the package include small business tax relief, closing costly tax breaks, and reforming the real estate excise tax to help working families build wealth through homeownership.