by Michele Thomas, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
Monday, April 24 marked day one of the 30-day special session called by Governor Inslee. If lawmakers are unable to reach agreement on the State’s Operating Budget by May 23, then they will have to come back for second special session. Although advocates can leverage this opportunity for valuable in-district advocacy with lawmakers, it is frustrating how this has played out. Senate Republicans are literally refusing to negotiate. They are making demands on the House to pass the other bills related to the budget first. But the Senate Republicans are also refusing to even give the main bill in question, HB 2186, a chance. Instead they are making inaccurate statements about it and are even saying that their budget proposal “has no new taxes”. If “new” means relying on the same old regressive tax system, maybe they aren’t lying. But their budget relies heavily on changes to the property tax system. Their new proposal would increase property taxes for the Democratic-leaning Puget Sound, while decreasing them for Republican-leaning rural areas in the state. It is a regressive, retaliatory, massive tax increase.
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