Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a delay in the “Washington Cares” long-term care tax, but Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, and Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, released a statement claiming the governor’s announcement has “changed nothing. The only thing it did was publicly acknowledge that the program is a mess.”
In the joint statement, the Republican lawmakers called for a special session to fix or repeal the tax before deductions from paychecks begin in January, even with the delay.
The statement says more than 400,000 Washingtonians have applied for an exemption from the tax.
“The governor’s announcement last week that the ‘Washington Cares’ long-term care tax would be delayed led everyone to believe that the tax would not be collected from their paychecks come January. State employees received notice that only those who have already been granted an exemption to the program will not have the tax deducted. Otherwise, the tax will be collected as originally planned. How is this a delay? How has the governor helped matters? He hasn’t,” read the statement.
“We need to go into a special session before the state begins collecting the tax and repeal this bill — even if it’s over the holidays, using virtual technology to meet on short notice. Why? Because the way the law is written drove insurance carriers to pull out of Washington,” the lawmakers wrote. “Under the current law, it is legally questionable if anyone who has the money deducted from their paycheck won’t receive it back – not even if they are granted an exemption. People are angry. The governor stands to make them even angrier if he fails to have the legislative branch address this before January 1.”