State House Expands Working Families Tax Exemption

Lawmakers in the state House have approved an expansion in a program designed to give a tax break to Washington’s lowest-paid workers. Dan Frizzell from the House Democratic Caucus has more.

THAI: “Working families are the backbone that keep our economy strong. Our economy must support them, the way they support us.”

The bill OK’d this week is the first significant expansion in the state’s working families tax exemption since it launched in 2008. That program, modeled after the federal working families tax credit, aims to offset some of the sales tax amounts paid by the state’s low and very-low income workers. Sponsored by Representative My-Linh Thai, House Bill 1297 increases the exemption and extends eligibility to workers who can’t get a social security number but who still pay close to 20 percent of their annual earnings in state and local taxes. Here’s Thai, who came to America as a teenaged refugee with her Vietnamese family:

THAI: “This bill puts dollars back into the pockets of Washingtonians who need it most. Those hit hardest by the pandemic. Low-income families. People with disabilities. Domestic violence survivors. And people of color and immigrants.

Thai, a Democrat from Bellevue, put together a bipartisan coalition for the bill, which passed out of the House with a near unanimous 94 to 2 majority and will now be taken up in the state Senate. In virtual Olympia, Dan Frizzell.

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