WashingtonVotes NEWS: Wednesday, April 26, 2017.
Washington State Legislature starts 30-day Special Session. No budget agreement in sight.
The Washington State Legislature quietly adjourned “Sine Die” at noon on Sunday, ending the scheduled 105-day Regular Session for 2017. During this regular session, lawmakers introduced nearly 2,200 new bills, and sent 341 measures to the Governor for approval, but they failed to complete work on the key issues of a two-year state operating budget and an education funding plan.
For bills passed within five days of final adjournment, the Governor has 20 days from the end of session, not counting Sundays, to sign or reject legislation sent to him. The deadline this year is Tuesday, May 16th. So far, he has vetoed only one measure, HB 1877, concerning the release of driving records of registered tow truck operators, because the bill duplicates provisions of a bill he approved previously, SB 5343.
Governor Inslee called lawmakers back on Monday for a 30-day Special Session to finish work on the budget and education funding, but, once in session, lawmakers can take up any topic or introduce new bills. The first new bill for the Special Session is SB 5932, introduced by Sen. Phil Fortunato (R- Auburn), to establish procedures for the forming of new counties or consolidating existing counties.
No floor action to consider bills has been scheduled, and both chambers are adjourning each day after brief pro-forma sessions for bill introductions and other legislative housekeeping business.
Legislative leaders have not given any indication that they are formally negotiating for an agreement concerning key budget and education measures. However, the Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold a public hearing Wednesday afternoon on the more than $3 billion in new taxes proposed by House Democrats.
The House bill to impose new taxes, HB 2186, has not been voted on by the House, but Sen. Dino Rossi (R-Sammamish) has introduced SB 5929 with identical provisions, which will be the subject of the Senate committee’s public hearing. These include:
• 7 percent capital gains income tax;
• 20 percent business and occupation tax (B&O) surtax on certain activities, increasing the filing threshold, repealing the small business credit, creating a new deduction of $250,000, and repealing several preferential rates;
• Sales tax on bottled water and out of state shoppers;
• Graduated real estate excise tax;
• Requires marketplace facilitators, referrers, and their sellers to collect and remit sales or use tax, or comply with notice and reporting requirements; and
• Expands liability for unpaid tax obligations for sales and use taxes, B&O tax, cigarette taxes, and other tobacco product taxes.
Visit www.washingtonvotes.org for updates and votes as the Special Session goes on, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. #waleg