The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has dismissed the class action lawsuit that asked the Court to find the state’s long-term care program (WA Cares) “unlawful and unenforceable under ERISA, federal, and state law.” (The link to the ruling is via this AP story.)
The Court held that it does not have jurisdiction in the case because WA Cares is “not governed or preempted by ERISA” and because it involves a state tax, which much be challenged in state courts (pursuant to the federal Tax Injunction Act).
One factor in determining whether the WA Cares premium is a tax subject to the Tax Injunction Act is the ultimate use of the assessment. Is it “expended for general public purposes, or used for the regulation or benefit of the parties upon whom the assessment is imposed”?
In answering that question, the judge makes some unexpected points.