Shutdown raises concerns over government power

Shutdown raises concerns over government power

A Chelan County Superior Court judge this week ruled that a lawsuit against Governor Jay Inslee’s stay home order can move forward. The use...
Economic forecast released; officials urge special session

Economic forecast released; officials urge special session

A new update from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) offered little surprise as to an economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19...
Court overturns state bank tax

Court overturns state bank tax

A King County Superior Court judge has ruled a 2019 state bank tax unconstitutional for violating federal law after it was initially upheld regarding...
Small biz “barely hanging on”

Small biz “barely hanging on”

Days after reopening the construction industry, Governor Jay Inslee announced that some outdoor recreation on state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land will also...
Business, labor strongly oppose Seattle job tax

Business, labor strongly oppose Seattle job tax

As the Seattle City Council continues discussions on a proposed new job tax, regional businesses and labor representatives have responded with a letter to Mayor...
Inslee may reopen construction, other activity

Inslee may reopen construction, other activity

Governor Jay Inslee announced in an April 21 address to the state that his March 18 “shelter-in-place” order will extend beyond May 4, though certain activities...
Washington’s “economic refugees” caution against new taxes

Washington’s “economic refugees” caution against new taxes

With the Washington State Supreme Court unwilling to reexamine its long-standing position that a graduated income tax is illegal, some local and state elected...
gold coins

New normal is time to recalibrate rainy day fund

Sucker punched and mugged by a tiny little virus. In every reasonable sense of what it means to be actively aware, we did not see...

Real estate tax revenue up amid decreased activity, COVID-19 response

Despite decreased real estate activity and social distancing restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the state collected millions more in real estate excise...
Seattle job tax 2.0: “Punitive tax policy”

Seattle job tax 2.0: “Punitive tax policy”

Two years after approving and then quickly repealing a $275-per-employee job tax to fund homelessness programs, the Seattle City Council at its April 6...
Inslee reduces operating budget spending

Inslee reduces operating budget spending increase

Governor Jay Inslee signed the 2020 supplemental budget on April 3 after vetoing spending provisions in anticipation of decreased state revenue due to the...
Supreme court refuses to take up Seattle income tax case

Supreme court refuses to take up Seattle income tax case

The Washington State Supreme Court has announced it will not hear a legal case regarding the city of Seattle’s graduated income tax ordinance previously...
Analyst: Tax relief can help Washington businesses, consumers

Analyst: Tax relief can help Washington businesses, consumers

The COVID-19 response by the state of Washington has both small and large businesses taking a hit. However, Washington may be relatively well-positioned to...
New lawsuit targets Sound Transit’s MVET schedules

New lawsuit targets Sound Transit’s MVET

Although the State Supreme Court ruled against plaintiffs in a case protesting ST3’s motor vehicle excise tax (MVET), a new lawsuit filed on March...
2020 legislative session roundup

2020 legislative session roundup

Washington’s 60-day 2020 legislative session concluded March 12 after state lawmakers approved a supplemental operating budget amid growing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak’s long-term...
Aerospace tax bill passes legislature

Aerospace tax bill passes legislature

The state legislature has passed SB 6690, a measure that removes aerospace industry tax incentives in order to avoid possible retaliatory tariffs. The bill...
Plastic bag ban or paper bag tax?

Plastic bag ban or paper bag tax?

A plastic bag ban proposal that cleared the Senate last year but failed in the House might make it out of the legislature this...
Proposal would incentivize hydropower investments

Proposal would incentivize hydropower investments

During the floor debates prior to passage of the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) last year, some legislators called attention to the absence of...
As battle over LCFS continues, stakeholders turn out in force

As battle over LCFS continues, stakeholders turn out in force

Stakeholders who oppose a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) proposal turned out in full force to share their perspectives in Olympia during a critical...
Washington’s future in “final frontier” economy

Washington’s future in “final frontier” economy

State lawmakers in recent years have monitored the emerging private space economy developing in Washington state, and while previous proposals have struggled to take...
Hefty bank tax stands as judge upholds title-only bills

Hefty bank tax stands as judge upholds title-only bills

This legislative session three bills proposing to end the use of title-only legislation failed to clear their original committees prior to the cutoff date....
High court upholds ST3 car tab tax

High court upholds ST3 car tab tax

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled this week in a 7-2 decision that a provision in a 2015 state law authorizing the ST3 motor...
Is a measure of car tab relief on its way?

Is a measure of car tab relief on its way?

The Senate Transportation Committee has cleared a bill backed by key Senate Democrat leaders that would alter the way Sound Transit calculates its motor...
Amid warnings of hit to business community, B&O tax clears legislature

Amid warnings of hit to business community, B&O tax clears legislature

The state House voted 52-45 on Feb. 6 in favor of SB 6492 creating a new set of business and occupation (B&O) taxes and...
Pierce County’s ‘Trexit’ from ST3

Pierce County’s ‘Trexit’ from ST3

Pierce County voters in 2016 voted by 55 percent in opposition to the $54 billion ST3 transit and light rail tax package. In November,...
Lawsuit drives I-976 proposals

Lawsuit drives I-976 proposals

Three bills introduced in the state Senate would codify into law most of Initiative 976 approved by 53 percent of voters in November. Driving...
Another run at jobs tax

Another run at jobs tax

Almost two years after opposing a job tax in Seattle that later was rescinded by the City Council with another local business tax possible,...
&O tax shuffle gets mixed reviews

B&O tax shuffle gets mixed reviews

The state legislature last year enacted E2SHB 2158, which imposes the business and occupation (B&O) tax surcharge on certain businesses to pay for higher education...
LCFS proposal “destroys our competitiveness”

LCFS proposal “destroys our competitiveness”

The state House has voted 52-44 in favor of a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) program via HB 1110; introduced last year and at...
Effort underway to restore previous real estate excise tax rate

Effort underway to restore previous real estate excise tax rate

The state legislature last year restructured the state real estate excise tax (REET) from a flat 1.28 percent rate to a graduated rate, with...
Bipartisan bill would affirm local income tax ban

Bipartisan bill would affirm local income tax ban

The Washington Court of Appeals ruled last year that a 1984 state law prohibiting local governments from imposing income taxes was unconstitutional. Now, a...
LCFS, round three

LCFS, round three

Though state lawmakers for the past two years have unsuccessfully tried to enact a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) in an effort to reduce...
Hazardous Waste Tax revenue spike expected after rate hike

Hazardous Waste Tax revenue spike expected after rate hike

Last year, the state legislature approved a rate hike for the Hazardous Substance Tax (HST) that funds toxic site cleanup, among other things. As...
December REET revenue doubles from last year

December REET revenue doubles from last year

According to data from the state Department of Revenue (DOR), the month before the state’s new law restructuring the real estate excise tax (REET)...
Inslee pushes for LCFS, homelessness funding

Inslee pushes for LCFS, homelessness program funding

Governor Jay Inslee’s Jan. 14 State of the State speech focused primarily on a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) proposal that in past session...
Poll: voters overwhelming favor local income tax ban

Poll: voters overwhelmingly favor local income tax ban

During the Nov. 5 election Spokane voters approved a ban on a local income tax by roughly 72 percent. According to a new poll...
Legislative session 2020: What to expect

Legislative session 2020: What to expect

In recent years, single issues such as basic education funding have competed for attention during Washington state’s legislative sessions and pushed other priorities to...
Sound Transit increases ST3 property tax rate

Sound Transit increases ST3 property tax

The Sound Transit Board of Directors has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a one percent property tax increase that is expected to generate an...
“Back to the Future” with tax structure study

“Back to the Future” with tax structure study

Despite year after year of surplus revenue, Washington state’s tax structure continues to receive scrutiny from legislators – the latest coming from the Tax...
Forest health funding tax proposed

Forest health funding tax proposed

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in recent years has developed a fire protection strategy plan as well as a long-term forest health...
Is income “property” in Washington state?

Is income “property” in Washington state?

For more than 80 years the Washington state Supreme court has ruled that income is property as defined by the Washington state constitution, which...
State grappling with forecasted revenue shortfalls

State grappling with forecasted revenue shortfalls

Although a new report by the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) estimates state tax collections will increase $300 million for the 2019-21...
Lawsuit challenges “title-only” bills

Lawsuit challenges “title-only” bills

In the last days of this year’s legislative session, state lawmakers – without any prior discussion – introduced and passed a new tax on...
: Do Washingtonians “own” their income?

Do Washingtonians “own” their income?

A Washington Supreme Court ruling last week involving a city of Seattle rental ordinance overturned a century of property case law. Now, the city...
Voters reject new REET tax

Voters reject new REET tax

If the outcome of Nov. 5 election’s advisory votes are any indication, Washington voters have little stomach for new taxes – of the 12...
“Horror franchise” of income tax efforts lives on

“Horror franchise” of income tax efforts lives on

In an eerily pithy decision, the Court of Appeals rejected without further elaboration a request by plaintiffs to reconsider its decision regarding the city...
Sound Transit car tab fee injunction denied

Sound Transit car tab fee injunction denied

A Pierce County Superior Court judge has denied an injunction request preventing Sound Transit from collecting any more of its motor vehicle excise tax...
Restructured excise tax could harm business, development

Restructured excise tax could harm business, development

In a move that has stakeholders raising red flags about business investment in Washington and housing affordability, the state legislature earlier this year approved...
Plaintiffs target Sound Move car tab

Plaintiffs target Sound Move car tab

Now that Sound Transit has rejected a settlement offer in a lawsuit filed against its ST3 motor vehicle excise tax (MVET), the plaintiffs want...
Seattle “all over the place”: Income isn’t money

Seattle “all over the place”: Income isn’t money

Throughout the two-year court fight over Seattle’s income tax ordinance, the city has argued that the tax doesn’t violate the state constitution or state...
Crafting smart state tax policy

Crafting smart state tax policy

Tax policy analysts featured at the Association of Washington Business 2019 Policy Summit on Sept. 18 agree on one thing: the state tax code...

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