House Public Hearing on Revenue Plan

The big issue of the day Monday in Olympia was tax reform to fund K-12 schools. Dan Frizzell has more in this audio report produced by the Washington State House Democratic Caucus:

“The key components of the bill are both that it’s a more progressive, more fair tax system, the other component for me that’s very important is giving relief to our small businesses.”

That’s Representative Kristine Lytton, chair of the House Finance Committee.  Her committee held a public hearing Monday on a group of tax reforms needed to pay for Supreme-Court-mandated investments in K-12 schools. Citizens testifying at the Hearing, a hundred strong, were mostly supportive of the plan, and Lytton, a Democrat from Anacortes, says that didn’t come as a surprise.  No one likes taxes, she said, but the House plan actually cuts taxes for more than a quarter-million Washington businesses – completely wiping out the hated B&O for more than seventy percent of the businesses in the state.

“The key components of the bill are both that it’s a more progressive, more fair tax system, the other component for me that’s very important is giving relief to our small businesses.”

The House plan closes a number of outdated tax breaks that no longer benefit the state, and collects a modest capital-gains tax that would affect the top one or two percent of taxpayers.  It’s a sharp contrast to the plan advanced by Senate Republican leaders, which would raise several billion dollars by increasing property taxes paid by middle- and working-class taxpayers, mostly in the Puget Sound region.  The Legislature is set to adjourn in just three weeks – not much time to bridge a gap that large, but Lytton said she remains hopeful Republicans will finally join her and her Democratic colleagues at the negotiating table soon.   In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.

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