Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is day 75 of the legislative session. Between the House and Senate, about 2000 bills have been introduced and the chambers have passed about 700. Bills are currently going through the same committee process they went through the first six weeks of the session, but in opposite chambers. We are holding public hearings on Senate bills and they are having public hearings on House bills.
Speaking of public hearings in the Senate, my “One Business, One Vet” legislation was before the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee last Friday and it was voted out of committee unanimously this week. I am working hard to ensure House Bill 2040 gets to the governor's desk so we can increase employment for veterans. Commanding General Roger Flygare, of the Association of Washington Generals, was at the hearing to express his support for the legislation. The state Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Washington Retail Association testified in support of the legislation. You can read my news release here.
Internet Tax Freedom Act
The House Finance Committee held a public hearing on House Bill 2166 on Tuesday. Without this legislation Washington state could be subjected to sales or use tax on telecommunications service used to provide internet access.
Currently there is a federal law known as the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which prohibits states from imposing this tax. However, this federal law expires on Oct. 1 of this year. This bill would permanently establish the federal act policy in Washington law.
I have been working on Erin's Law legislation, which relates to public schools implementing a prevention-oriented child sex-abuse program.
Operating budget update
The majority party in the House introduced their operating budget proposal today. It contains a proposed capital gains tax, eliminates some tax preferences and raises the B&O tax on some service businesses. We will be getting into the details next week.
I did want to make you aware of new taxes and tax increases because I feel it is important to point out the state has $3 billion increase in revenue this biennium — that is more than an eight percent increase in revenue. Most households or businesses would be thrilled to have revenues increase that much over a biennium. We should be able to pass an operating budget with existing revenues, and do so in the 105-day session. I fully expect us to adjourn on time, April 26.
Honored to serve you,