Washington state lawmakers have been busy in Olympia, and of course the Democrats are doing all they can to increase our taxes. As expected talk of a new state income tax is in the air as HB 2967 or one of the many companion bills would cost taxpayers an estimated 8.2 billion dollars over the next 10 years.
HB 2967, SB 5111 and HB 1730 are new Democrat 'capital gains' tax bills that would impose a tax on individuals who sell or exchange long term capital assets ('long-term' meaning having owned it more than one year) and on individuals who would receive the Washington state capital gains. Democrats are calling these proposed laws a 'Capital Gains Excise Tax', which simply is another form of an income tax. Please remember that CAPITAL GAINS INCOME IS STILL INCOME and a tax that falls on income is still an 'Income Tax'.
Do not believe the Democrat rhetoric. Excise taxes are paid on items of consumption (goods & services like gasoline) not on income. All federal and state revenue departments describe capital gains as 'income', in fact on IRS form 1040 under the section titled 'income' it asks for the income from capital gains to be listed. INCOME TAX PROPOSALS HAVE APPEARED ON THE BALLOT MANY TIMES AND EACH TIME THE VOTERS HAVE ALWAYS SAID "NO".
SB 6203 is Inslee's 'carbon' / 'energy' tax plan which just passed the Senate and is now on to the House. The potential new law will adversely affect those who can least afford it. It will increase electric (at least 5%-10%), natural gas (at least 5%-10%) and gasoline prices (at least 20 - 30 cents per gallon) significantly. Additionally other consumer goods, grocery prices etc. will go up along with transpiration and delivery costs. Estimated to be 3.3 billion in new taxes over the next four years, these laws will result in no significant carbon reduction.
HB 1550 would raise B & O taxes and will result in hurting our many small businesses.
HB 1975 is another 'sugar and sweetener' tax, which is molded after the city of Seattle's new tax policy which taxes sweetened items by about 85 %. This new exorbitant tax proposal would be statewide, so be prepared to hold on to your wallets.
HB 1611 and HB 1210 are taxes on energy companies and among other businesses would target refineries across the state. All this will accomplish is that the end user consumer will be hit with paying higher prices.
SB 6617 was introduced Feb 21st, the bill exempts elected state government representatives from the Public Records Act. If enacted members of the state Senate and House can opt not to disclose a variety of documents, such as correspondence with their 'constituents'.
However, the new law does provide more transparency as now disclosures of records such as communications between lawmakers and 'registered' lobbyists, disciplinary reports, and information from lawmaker calenders, if created after July 1st, 2018, would be available at the publics request.
Of concern is the manner that this bill was passed. Only one day after it was introduced, a last minute noontime work session was held for SB 6617 on Feb 22nd by the Democrat controlled 'Tribal Relations & Elections Committee'. The public was given less than 24 hour notice for this 'work session' which totally circumvented the normal bill cut off date, committee meetings and public hearing procedures because the makers of the bill were declaring it an emergency measure. The law passed by large margins in both the Senate and House on Feb 23rd; unless Inslee vetoes ESB 6617 it will go into effect immediately and be retroactive.
It is very important to remember that in 2018 the state Democrats control all of the 'hearings' and all of the 'notice of hearings' process, the majority party chose to schedule the hurried SB 6617 work session and the rushed vote in both chambers the very next day.
Lawmakers were quick to point out that there have been several court cases over the years verifying that state Legislators are exempt from the PRA. However on January 18th Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Lanese ruled that the Legislature is subject to the Public Records Act just like every other elected official throughout the state. ESB 6617 was an answer to Lanese's ruling.
Legislators called the Lanese ruling "fundamentally unworkable" because it mandated each state representative to be classified as a 'state agency' which would require the representatives to hire massive amounts of extra staff just to comply with the verdict. Legislators said: You can't have 147 different 'state agencies' that are individually liable; adding: The ruling also violated their constituents personal privacy. ESB 6616 would nullify the recent court order.
Even though the law may have good intentions to counteract a controversial ruling, it appears to block the public from their elected representatives and the unintended consequences would allow government secrecy and corruption to flourish. We need more transparency in government, not less. Transparency is what makes our republic and democracy work !
With SB 5397 & SB 5386 the Washington state Democrats (via the Tribal Relations & Elections Committee) are still wanting to severely restrict and basically end the citizen initiative process by requiring additional fees, time delays, government registration, licensing, etc. These potential new laws also promote government censorship of the people by having courts rule on initiatives before anyone can even start to collect a signature.
These anti initiative bills are attempting to silence the people and are a breech against the Washington State Constitution Art II Section one "LEGISLATIVE POWERS, WHERE VESTED". The people reserve to themselves the power to propose bills, laws and to enact or reject the same at the polls, independent of the legislature, and to also reserve power, at their own option, to approve or reject at the polls any act, item, section, or part of any bill, act or law passed by the legislature.
ESSB 6091 has abolished water rights and private property rights for over 6000 land-owners in Skagit county as the Department of Ecology via the Swinomish tribe and their attorneys are now in control of the land and what is beneath it. This is a 'taking' from taxpaying land owners and most unfortunate is that the owners of the land now have severely devalued property, and adverse collateral impacts mean that everyone else have skyrocketing property taxes to cover the shortfall.
State Democrat regulation of water is beyond egregious, and with newly imposed 'water meter pilot projects' expect the statewide taxing of water to be next. There is absolutely no need for more Democratic proposed regulation and taxes . Our state is already over regulated and overtaxed; we have record tax revenues and a 2 + billion dollar tax surplus, in fact our state has 1 billion dollars in new tax revenues beyond what the forecasters even predicted. At this point the Democratic party of new and higher taxes is right in line with New York and California. NOT ACCEPTABLE !
The Democrat institution is consistently proving itself to have an anti-American ideology as one of its core beliefs, it rejects the basic American founding principles of freedom and private property rights and what our Constitution and Republic stand for.
The Republican party needs to stand for Individual Sovereignty apart from government oppression, we are Pro American, Pro Liberty, Pro Military, Pro Capitalism, Pro National Security, Pro Constitution, Pro Citizen, Pro Law Enforcement and Pro Israel. We believe that the taxpayers know how to spend their own money better than the government; the Democrats continually demonstrate and show that they do not support these key fundamental issues.
Congratulations to LD 39 Senator Keith Wagoner, his sponsored bill SB 6347 passed the Senate with a 43-4 majority vote and is now onto the House. The new law will allow cities with less than a 15,000 population to have property tax incentives for the property owners to improve / renovate multifamily housing statewide.
Also congratulations to LD 39 House Representative Carolyn Eslick. Her sponsored bill HB 2276 unanimously passed the House, and is now onto the Senate. This new law will require the state Department of Fish & Wildlife to notify area residents and hold public hearings whenever they arbitrarily want to relocate wildlife such as elk, grizzly bears, wolfs, etc. The notice would have to be at least 30 days before the hearings, which would potentially decide to move any wildlife.
Thank you to LD 10 House Representative Norma Smith and her HB 2914 bill which if passed would direct the Department of Ecology to develop a public outreach strategy in an effort to improve recycling business practices, reduce contamination rates, promote statewide best practices, and improve consumer education. Norma's sponsored bill would also require the Department of Commerce to look at expanding the amount of recycling businesses.
We also very much appreciate LD 10 Representative Dave Hayes for proposing an amendment to the budget that would provide $30 million for the funding of armed professional law enforcement officers in the states public schools, these 'school resource officers' would be protecting our most valuable resources -- our children. Unfortunately the amendment was rejected by the Democrat majority party.
On March 24th we will be having our annual Lincoln / Reagan day Dinner at the Bertelsen Winery Event Centre and we are expecting another sellout. Do not miss it, many of our State Representatives will be speaking about all the goings on in Olympia. Also we will be having a delicious Prime Rib Buffet Dinner catered by Max Dale's Steak and Chop House.
Of Special note, the L/R Day Keynote speaker will be nationally recognized Herb Meyer and his talk is entitled 'What in the world is going on in Washington DC ?'. Mr. Meyer served under President Ronald Reagan as special assistant to the Director of Cental Intelligence and as Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council.
Please remember that our regular monthly SCRP Central Committee (PCO) meetings are held at 7 PM on the third Thursday of each month at the SCRP office headquarters, first floor conference room in Mount Vernon. Meetings last 1-2 hours and are highly informative (last meeting we had Skagit County Superior Court Judge Laura Riquelme speaking and answering questions).
Welcome and congratulations to new Skagit County Republican Party members and newly appointed PCO's: Willa Gilquist 102 Alger, Bill Velacich 168 Samish and Wen Wagoner 406 Sedro-Woolley.
Respect & Blessings,
Bill Bruch, SCRP Chairman