The state budget has recovered from dire straits last summer with projections that revenues will be 10.7% higher in 2019-21 than they were in 2017-19, according to a new Washington Research Council policy brief.
A later-breaking Wednesday revenue report indicated the the state budget situation had improved still further. Despite numerous new tax proposals under consideration in the 2021 Legislative Session, the council urges legislators to be cautious about increasing tax burdens.
The report notes that as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the state, Governor Inslee took several actions to reduce state spending. Also, the state has received billions of dollars in federal aid, some of which can be used in place of state funding including some for new spending needs related to the pandemic.
During the session, Washington Retail has registered its opposition to proposed taxes on capital gains and on personal wealth. Businesses that either have closed or struggled to remain open during the pandemic should not be burdened with avoidable new expenses that would only further threaten economic recovery.
WR is urging that legislators use state surpluses to meet anticipated expenses and reduce spending rather than raising taxes due to the financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.