Sen. Lynda Wilson provides an assessment of state’s quarterly revenue forecast, which indicates the state government will end the 2021-23 fiscal cycle on July 1 with $335 million more than expected
VANCOUVER – The budget leader for Senate Republicans says today’s positive news about state revenue growth is offset by the continued rise in Washington gas prices and the added pain many Washington workers are about to feel from the state’s new payroll tax.
Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, is chair of the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, which met this morning to adopt the second of the state’s quarterly revenue forecasts for 2023. The forecast indicates the state government will end the 2021-23 fiscal cycle on July 1 with $335 million more than expected. The 2023-25 biennium, which begins Sunday, looks to be ahead by $287 million since the year’s first forecast in March.
Following the meeting she offered this assessment:
“While this is literally a positive forecast, I see a lot of reason to remain cautious. The predicted uptick seems to be driven more by estimated returns from the new capital-gains income tax, instead of normal economic activity. It was acknowledged today that the final capital-gains numbers may prompt a downward adjustment once they come in, a few months from now.
“Let’s remember also that revenue from income taxes is less predictable, and this tax was upheld by the court only recently. Going forward I would expect people will make more effort to reduce their exposure to it. That is especially true if members of the current majority keep looking to expand the capital-gains tax, as some have already proposed.
“My concern today is less about state government’s financial condition than the hardships being inflicted on families and employers of Washington because their state now has the highest gas prices in the nation. Anyone with the slightest grasp of economics had to know that forcing companies to buy ‘carbon allowances’ from the state would eventually hit consumers. Eight western Washington counties are averaging over $5 per gallon for unleaded regular today, according to AAA, and more are close to crossing the $5 line.
“On top of that, many Washington workers are about to lose money to a payroll deduction, for a state-run long-term care program that will benefit them relatively little if at all. After Saturday, this tax will mean even less take-home pay to put toward necessities like gasoline and other forms of energy, along with food and housing.
“Republicans keep calling attention to the affordability crisis in our state, but unfortunately we seem to be alone in wanting to offer even temporary tax relief that could ease the cost of living here. Instead, the people of Washington are getting another one-two punch courtesy of the Democrats and their government-first approach.”
- Welfare check leads to discovery of apparent murder-suicide in OrchardsTragic murder-suicide in Orchards: Five family members found dead, including the suspect, in a residence on NE 93rd Street; Clark County Sheriff’s Office investigating.
- Vancouver Fire crews extinguish shop fireOn Saturday (Dec. 2) at about 4:45 p.m., the Vancouver Fire Department was called to a report of a shop fire at 20718 NE 83rd Street.
- Tunnel model for Interstate crossing exposes more IBR flawsRetired engineers Wallis and Rowe challenge the $7.5-billion Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) proposal, presenting an immersed tube tunnel model that offers superior connectivity and safety, contradicting the IBR team’s claims at a recent open house in Vancouver.
- WAGOP files ethics complaint against SoS Hobbs over social media monitoringWashington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs is facing a complaint filed with the Washington State Executive Ethics Board.
- White House pressured YouTube to ‘crack down on vaccine misinformation’President Joe Biden’s administration exerted pressure on Google-owned YouTube to suppress COVID-19 vaccine information, documents obtained by the House Judiciary Committee show.
- Importance of open government laws on display with shocking storiesJason Mercier of the Mountain States Policy Center discusses two recent stories that illustrate the lengths that some public officials will go to evade public accountability.
- State arm wrestling championships ready to flex Saturday in VancouverArmSports Entertainment, founded and owned by a Clark County arm wrestler, is hosting more than 300 competitors for the Washington State Arm Wrestling Championships at Kiggins Theater on Saturday.