(The Center Square) – Tax cuts are on the agenda of most of the 14 Democratic trifecta states. Those are states where the Democratic Party controls both state legislative chambers as well as the governor’s office.
Washington state is not among those states.
“I’ve been reviewing the 2022 tax cut approach taken by the 14 Democratic trifecta states,” Washington Policy Center’s Jason Mercier wrote on his Olympia Watch Twitter page on Thursday. “WA stands apart, and not in a good way. Here are some of the tax cut statements from those Democratic leaders…”
That was followed by a list of quotes from governors of 11 of those Democratic trifecta states, including Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, about tax cuts.
For example, in September, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis had this to say about a sales tax refund, as well as a temporary income tax cut triggered by the state’s quick recovery from 2020’s COVID-19-induced economic downturn: “These tax cuts and refunds are a strong sign that Colorado’s economy is roaring back. I’m excited that Coloradans will get another income tax cut and refund that Coloradans can put toward bouncing back from the pandemic, a night out, or groceries.”
Earlier this month, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statement about reaching a budget agreement with Democratic legislative leadership.
"Our plan delivers more than $1.8 billion in tax relief to Illinois residents, adds $1 billion to our state's long-depleted Rainy-Day Fund, and doubles down on our efforts to make unprecedented investments in public safety,” he said.
Also earlier this month, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul trumpeted a state budget that supports working families via tax cuts.
“This Budget provides much-needed tax relief for thousands of small businesses and millions of New Yorkers and reduces the tax burden for those who need it most,” she said.
And then there’s Inslee during a press conference in December unveiling his proposed supplemental budget for Washington state: “The need for expenditures is going to go on. I believe the things we’ve proposed respond responsibly to the crises we face. I’m not sure – in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a mental health crisis, in the middle of a homelessness crisis – that’s really the right moment to be doing big tax cuts.”
Republican lawmakers had asked Inslee for some sort of tax relief, usually centering around the state’s current sales tax rate or a reduction in property taxes, during this year’s legislative session that saw existing tax collections predicted to come in much higher than previously projected.
The Legislature ended up passing a $64.1 billion supplemental budget that was some $5 billion over the budget passed by lawmakers in April 2021. The budget, which contained no broad-based tax relief, was signed by Inslee.
The Governor’s Office did point to some ongoing efforts at tax relief, as well as tax relief legislaton passed this legislative session and signed by Inslee.
“Let us know if you have questions about the state’s new Working Families Tax Credit being developed right now that will provide up to $1,200 of tax relief to lower-income households, the legislation signed last month by the governor that the [National Federation of Independent Business] lauded as helping provide tax relief to 276,000 small businesses, or the tens of thousands of families who have received an average of $6,379 in COVID-19 rent assistance over the past year,” Mike Faulk, Inslee’s press secretary, said in response to The Center Square asking for comment on the observation that Washington appears to be the odd man out.