Opinion: Steady revenue forecast since February primes pump for tax relief

Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center challenges the governor to follow his massive compensation increase for state government employees with tax relief for all Washingtonians.

Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center challenges the governor to follow his massive compensation increase for state government employees with tax relief for all Washingtonians

Jason Mercier
Washington Policy Center

Jason Mercier
Jason Mercier

The September revenue forecast continues to show $1.5 billion above expectations for 2021-23 since the February forecast. In other fiscal news, we learned today that the governor has agreed to a massive compensation increase for state government employees. With other states across the country continuing to provide tax relief to help with inflation costs, it is past time for state officials to prioritize broad-based tax relief for Washingtonians.

Earlier this week Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig talked about the prospects for broad-based tax relief with TVW (26:06 mark) and said it was on the table. Also, at AWB’s recent policy summit, Rep. Ed Orcutt said that he would push for property and sales tax relief in the 2023 legislative session.

Rep. Ed Orcutt (20th District) received the Award for Conservative Achievement after voting with a conservative position 89 percent of the time. File photo
Rep. Ed Orcutt (20th District)

With state government employee unions announcing today that their secret pay talks with the governor have resulted in the “largest compensation package” in history, I’m going to assume that based on the revenue forecast showing a $1.5 billion increase since February, the governor will also soon be announcing his support for tax relief for Washingtonians.

The 2021-23 revenue forecasts for Washington since last November were:

  • Nov: $60.2 billion
  • Feb: $61.7 billion
  • June: $63.2 billion
  • Sept: $63.2 billion

Broad-based tax relief provided: None.

Surely the governor wouldn’t have agreed to a huge pay increase for government employee union members unless he also planned to finally support broad-based tax relief as well.

As for the state government employee pay raises, OFM estimates the taxpayer cost information for those tentative agreements will be posted on its website on October 3.


Following the massive compensation increases Gov. Jay Inslee negotiated for state government employees, should lawmakers demand tax relief in light of the state's steady revenue forecast?*
152 votes

Additional Information

The case for a Washington sales tax cut (video)

Jason Mercier is the director of the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center.


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