The state House Finance Committee is considering two bills this week, and committee members need to hear from you immediately.
The first is HB 1827, a bill requiring a “tax expenditure report” to be part of the biennial budget process. What does this mean? Very simply it requires an accounting of all tax exemptions, credits, loopholes etc., so that legislators (and voters) can quantify what they are costing the state in lost revenues. Hard to argue with that… unless of course, you simply don’t want the public to know how much corporate tax breaks are costing us.
The second bill — and this one really gets my goat — is HB 2117, which would codify the one percent annual limit on increases in property tax revenues, that was recently tossed out along with Tim Eyman’s I-747. Let’s be clear… re-imposing this 1 percent cap would not only be incredibly harmful to local communities — particularly those in slow-growing, rural regions of the state — it would be downright cowardly and idiotic.
There may be a cap rate that makes sense, but one-percent is nonsensical and vindictive — it can’t even keep up with inflation, let alone growth in population or growth in demand for public services. All across the state local taxing districts are on the verge of insolvency, and face a potential collapse in essential public services (police, fire, EMS) unless something changes, and quick. I-747’s court defeat is an opportunity to reexamine the issue and create a reasonable cap, while targeting some real property tax relief to those who need it most. (Hmm… a Property Tax Homestead Exemption comes to mind.) But to simply regurgitate Tim’s bullshit would be a total abdication of legislative responsibility.
So let your representatives know that you want them to vote YES on HB 1827 and an emphatic NO on HB 2117. The Washington Tax Fairness Coalition has made it easier for you; just scroll to the bottom of this page and submit the form.
And do it now.