Governor signs massive tax bills into law

May 22, 2019
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

Governor Jay Inslee signed several large tax increases into law this week:

  • HB 2158, prime sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen (D-23), increases the Business and Occupation Tax on services by 20-66%.
  • HB 2167, prime sponsored by Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-36), imposes an additional B and O tax on large banks of 1.2%.
  • HB 1873, prime sponsored by Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-46) adopts new taxes on vape smoking products.
  • SB 5997, prime sponsored by Senator Christine Rolfes (D-23) makes the non-resident sales tax exemption a yearly remittance program.
  • SB 5998, prime sponsored by Senator Joe Nguyen (D-34) establishes a graduated real estate excise tax that more than doubles the tax owed on properties sold over $3 million.

These taxes were needed to prop up an unsustainable $52.4 billion two-year operating budget.  When the economy slows or takes a dive, our state is going to be faced with the reality of massive cuts and/or further tax increases to cover the newly inflated spending levels.

Washington Retail was disappointed with the final outcome of these tax proposals that will undoubtedly have a negative impact on retailers both large and small in our state.  It would have been more prudent to put some of the excess revenues that the state has been enjoying into our “rainy day” reserve account and try to live within our means.