State Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, proposed a bill that would cut the state sales tax by 1% across the board starting in 2023.
Senate Bill 5932 would reduce the state sales-and-use tax from 6.5% to 5.5%, according to a Jan. 21 Washington State Senate Democrats news release. Das also sponsored Senate Bill 5915 that would exempt diapers from the sales tax.
“We need to get money back in people’s pockets if we’re to make a full recovery from the high public health cost and economic cost of this pandemic,” Das said. “Both of these bills accomplish that with a bold sales tax cut. Together, they are strong tools to fix Washington’s unbalanced, regressive tax code that asks more of working families than it does of the wealthiest among us.
“Thanks to our federal, state and local leaders’ careful stewardship during this pandemic – and the public resilience throughout our communities – we are in a strong place financially. We should seize this opportunity to live up to our values of a full, equitable recovery and reduce the sales-and-use tax that burdens lower- and middle-income families.”
SB 5932’s 1% sales-and-use tax reduction would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. It would apply to the sales-and-use tax currently levied on items and services categorized under the state constitution’s definition of retail sale. It would not affect local governments’ sales-and-use taxes.
“We need to take a serious look at tax relief for all working Washingtonians,” added Das. “And this is the year to do it.”
SB 5915 would exempt diapers from the sales-and-use tax, including both disposable and washable diapers, as well as diapers intended for adults and diapers intended for babies. It would take effect on July 1, 2022.
Republicans support reduction
Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, and the Republican leader on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, and the Republican leader on the House Appropriations Committee, said they’re encouraged by the introduction of Senate Bill 5932, saying it supports their message that legislators should turn part of the state’s projected $10-plus billion budget surplus into significant, direct tax relief this year, according to a Jan. 21 Washington Senate Republican news release.
Wilson and Stokesbary issued a joint statement:
“It’s great to see bipartisan recognition that now is the time for major tax relief, in one form or another. We welcome this proposal and look forward to having serious discussions about how to best let families and employers keep more of their own money. That would be a refreshing contrast to the past few sessions, when the majority was choosing instead how to take billions more from families and employers, even though there was no budget deficit to address.
“A drop in the state sales tax would save billions of dollars, and so would the Republican proposals that are targeted toward lowering property taxes, promoting manufacturing growth and suspending the state gas tax. There are advantages to each, but for today, the news is how legislators on both sides of the aisle now agree that billions of dollars’ worth of tax relief can happen without affecting existing services and programs.
“We’re not surprised by this proposal, knowing families in districts represented by our Democratic colleagues are struggling with inflation and a variety of tax burdens just as much as the people we serve. But we do hope this first move by the Senate majority toward major tax relief isn’t also its last – and we’ll be looking for proposals from the House majority as well.
“Living in Washington has become unaffordable for many. It’s time for the people to get a break.”
The 2022 legislative session began on Jan. 10 and will last for 60 days.