Tax bills dominate the final stretch of Legislative session

Apr 10, 2019
Written by wpengine

The state House and Senate are spending much of the final days of the 2019 Legislative Session on reconciling their versions of a new, two-year state budget.

Changes are too fluid to capture with 18 days remaining until the scheduled April 28 adjournment of the 105-day session. However, Washington Retail opposes bills in support of adopting a capital gains tax; an increase of 20% to 66% in the services Business & Occupations tax; and an increase in the real estate excise tax from 1.28% to 3%.

WR maintains that steady annual increases in state revenues for several years including projections for the trend to continue make it possible to pass a balanced budget without new taxes.

Meanwhile, WR continues work on other important bills that could affect retailers:

  • WR continues attempts to improve HB 1696 that would require companies to share their salaries online. WR would prefer that such information only be shared with applicants being offered jobs.
  • WR opposes SB 5376 that pertains to the obligation of companies to protect the private data of customers. The House is considering the bill after the Senate approved it. WR prefers a national solution from Congress.
  • WR continues to monitor SB 5323 calling for a ban on plastic shopping bags statewide. WR projects that Gov. Inslee will ultimately sign such a bill into law.
  • WR supports HB 1559 that would allow a sales tax holiday weekend for back-to-school shopping. Support may be building to try the idea as a one-year pilot project.
  • WR opposes SB 5135 that would grant the Department of Ecology sweeping powers to identify possible dangerous chemicals in consumer products. The bill narrowly passed the Senate but the House has not yet voted on it. WR favors broader oversight of the makeup of consumer products.

WR will issue a detailed report for members on the outcome of bills related to retailers after adjournment.