Senate Republicans step forward with sweeping proposal for tax relief, reform to help families, job creators

OLYMPIA… Republicans in the state Senate have introduced a comprehensive plan to reduce homeowners’ property taxes and manufacturers’ business taxes while preventing a state income tax, and repealing the new payroll tax on Washington workers.

The Tax Relief and Reform Act of 2022 (Senate Bill 5769) supports one of the top Senate Republican priorities for this year’s legislative session, which began Monday: returning affordability.

“Between the billions in new taxes from the majority and the highest inflation rate in 40 years, it’s costing people a lot more to live in Washington. Families are more worried about buying food, and gasoline, and paying to heat their homes. We need a return to affordability, and this is how it begins – with tax relief and reforms that will benefit countless people across our state,” said Sen. Lynda Wilson, budget leader for Senate Republicans.

In spite of the pandemic, state government has a surplus of more than $10 billion. Wilson, R-Vancouver, says that’s more than double what it would take to offer progressive property-tax relief, by exempting the first $250,000 of a home’s value from the state property tax, and also eliminate the business and occupation tax on Washington’s manufacturing sector, which provides good-paying jobs statewide but needs help to grow.

Wilson said the capital-gains income tax that was passed by majority Democrats in 2021 but wouldn’t be collected until 2023 can be repealed without harming the state’s finances, and doing so would preserve Washington’s competitive advantage. The new payroll tax that took effect Jan. 1 will take more than 1.3 billion dollars from workers every year to support a program that is not financially sound, she said.

“I am confident Republicans will have proposals this session related to public safety, K-12 education, homelessness, mental health, transportation, and more. We recognize there are important needs in those areas, and they can be addressed independently of this package of tax relief and reforms – it’s not an ‘either-or’,” Wilson explained.

“The governor’s state-of-the-state remarks yesterday indicated he shares some of those concerns, but it’s clear he doesn’t agree with us on the importance of tax relief and reform, unlike Democrat and Republican governors in other states,” Wilson added. “Even though a recent statewide poll shows people in Washington are worried most about the economy – which to me means their household budgets – the top Democrats in the Senate and House seem just as reluctant as the governor to offer the kind of significant, direct tax relief we’ve put on the table. I hope that changes.”

For an in-depth look at the Tax Relief & Reform Act click here