Monday, March 30, 2015

Tell Your Legislators About Higher Taxes, Raising Wages and More Leave

Legislators Need to Hear from You! 

Your voice needs to be heard on the $1.5 billion in new and higher taxes, including a $570 million capital gains tax that was incorporated in the 2015-17 House operating budget unveiled Friday (HB 2224). The plan spends $38.8 billion, which represents a 13 percent increase in spending, despite state tax revenue collections projected to be $3 billion, or a 9 percent increase, for the same period.

Let your state representatives know what you think of their plan to raise taxes. Please consider testify on the budget tomorrow, March 30 at 1:30 p.m., send a letter to your House members using this link and/or comment on the 2015-17 state budget bill online at this link.

The new and increased taxes in the 2015-17 House budget include.
  • A new 5 percent capital gains tax on the sales of stocks and other assets, including homes, totaling $570 million;
  •  Increase B&O tax rate on services to 1.8 percent - a 20 percent increase;
  •  Repeal of B&O Tax preference for travel agents;
  •  Repeal of sales tax exemption for bottled water;
  • Repeal of B&O Tax preference for prescription drug sellers;
  • Repeal of B&O Tax preference for royalties;
  • Repeal of use tax exemption for extracted fuel;
  •  "Mainstreet Fairness" nexus, or collection of B&O or sales tax on Internet purchases; and
  • Limit the Real Estate Excise Tax foreclosure exemption.
The Association of Washington Business (AWB) has scheduled a meeting for Monday, March 30 at 11:30 AM to discuss the proposed budget. The meeting is at AWB, 1414 Cherry Street in Olympia and is available by conference call by contacting if you are an AWB member. 

In addition, the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee has the following items on their public hearing agenda next week. The meeting will be held in Senate Hearing Rm 4, J.A. Cherberg Building, Capitol Campus, Olympia, WA.

Work Session
1.       Minimum wage.
Public Hearing
Each of these measures was passed by the House on a party line vote earlier this month. This is an excellent opportunity to contact your legislator.

UPDATE #1: 3-30-2015
1355 = Summary of Bill: The state minimum hourly wage is increased to $12 over the course of
four years, as follows:
·         beginning January 1, 2016 – $10.00;
·         beginning January 1, 2017 – $10.50;
·         beginning January 1, 2018 – $11.00;
·         beginning January 1, 2019 – $12.00; and
·         beginning January 1, 2020, and thereafter, the rate is adjusted for inflation.

1356 = Summary of Bill: Intent. A safe and sick leave law is created that applies to employees
performing services in the state, including temporary and part-time employees. Employees
accrue and are entitled to use and carry over unused leave based on employer size.
Employers with four or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees are exempt.
·         Tier 1 employers have more than four and fewer than 50 FTEs.
·         Tier 2 employers have 50 to fewer than 250 FTEs.
·         Tier 3 employers have 250 or more FTEs.
Paid sick and safe leave requirements do not apply to any employees covered by a bona fide
collective bargaining agreement to the extent the requirements are expressly waived in clear
and unambiguous terms.

Employer Tier
Hours worked to accrue hour of leave
Hour use per year
Tier 1
Tier 2
Tier 3

UPDATE #2: 3-30-2015
State Representative Emails District Legislative Assistant Email 
Rep. Michelle Caldier 26 Alexis Guse
Rep. Jake Fey 27 My-Le Tang
Rep. Carol Gregory 30 Meredith Rafferty
Rep. Graham Hunt 2 Barb Peters
Rep. Christopher Hurst 31 Caitlin Lopez
Rep. Laurie Jinkins 27 Lynda Foster
Rep. Christine Kilduff  28 Osta Davis
Rep. Steve Kirby 29 Chistel Mason-Gillespie
Rep. Linda Kockmar 30 Joseph Atkinson
Rep. Dick Muri 28 Matt Helder
Rep. David Sawyer 29 Olgy Diaz
Rep. Melanie Stambaugh  25 Shelbi Hogenson
Rep. Drew Stokesbary 31 Joel Baxter
Rep. J.T. Wilcox 2 Sharon Trask
Rep. Jesse Young 26 Braedon Wilkerson
Rep. Hans Zeiger 25 Sarah Pollock

Your lawmakers need to hear from you and your opinion on these measures. Please contact Tom Pierson or Gary Brackett  at the Chamber with questions or specific concerns. 

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