Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber | Fighting for taxpayers and affordability
Individuals and families continue to face high inflation and other cost-of-living challenges. When everything costs a little more, it can add up to a lot of economic anxiety. For many families now, it’s not about whether they can afford the vacation; it’s about whether they can buy soccer shoes for their kids, food for their table, and medications they need to survive.
While there are macroeconomic factors out of the Legislature’s control, state lawmakers can – and do – make policies that impact people’s pocketbooks. When it comes to affordability, the majority party’s track record over the last four years is not good.
Since 2019, Democrats have passed several new tax increases. They have also enacted regressive energy policies that have increased what we pay at the pump and for certain goods and services.
And there’s more to come.
Beginning July 1, most Washington workers will face a new payroll tax to fund a state-run, long-term care insurance program that many people won’t need or be able to use. This will make paychecks a little lighter as economic pressures get heavier.
The majority party also created a new capital gains tax that the Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled constitutional despite a lower court striking it down. Many people, including me, believe this is the first step toward a new state income tax.
I fought against all of these policies.
As new taxes have come online and our economy has grown, state spending has more than doubled in the last decade. State spending for 2013-15 was $33.8 billion. For 2023-25, it’s expected to be north of $70 billion. Has your income doubled in the last decade?
I understand there are some who are okay with the size of state government growing if they see tangible results. But what have we received in return? Are our communities safer? Are our students performing better? Are our roads in better condition? Do we see fewer people in homeless camps? What about those struggling with drug addiction?
We know the answers.
Last year, our state had a historic budget surplus of $15 billion and the best opportunity perhaps ever to provide meaningful tax relief to Washingtonians. It didn’t happen, despite several Republican proposals to do so.
This year, state tax collections have cooled off a bit but are still growing. Even so, revenue levels are more than sufficient to fund state priorities and consider modest tax-relief proposals. House Republicans have proposed sales tax relief, property tax relief, and expanding the Working Families Tax Credit. We know we can’t do all of them, but Democrats won’t consider any of them.
But it may get worse. Not only has the majority party rejected any notion of real tax relief, they are now signaling they may actually increase taxes in the final days of the 2023 legislative session.
First, Democrats are considering raising real estate excise taxes (REET). This is a property transfer tax imposed on the sale of real property. For most people, their greatest investment is their home.
What will this proposal ultimately do? It will make housing more expensive and contribute to higher rents. In the middle of a housing crisis. The bill to watch is House Bill 1628.
Their second proposal would raise property taxes at a time when people are already struggling with high property taxes. Senate Bill 5770 would triple the growth rate of state and local property taxes by increasing the cap from 1% to 3%. Keep in mind: The 1% cap was approved by voters through an initiative.
Imagine working for years to pay off your property, living on a fixed income, and getting pushed out of your home because of skyrocketing property tax increases.
We need to oppose these new tax increases and any proposal that chips away at your financial security. Enough is enough.
(Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic, is the House Republican Floor Leader.)