While SB 5373 is not one of the environmental priorities identified at the Justice Summit, a number of people have expressed interest in the bill. The bill appears to be dead for the session, but there is some possibility of its revival in the budget negotiations. Information below provides some background and notes on a hearing on March 4, 2021. Provisions of the bill:
- It imposes a carbon pollution tax beginning January 1, 2022, equal to $25 per metric ton of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the sale or use of all fossil fuel within the state of Washington, except for the sale or use of electricity in Washington generated using fossil fuels.
- It increases the tax rate annually by inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, plus 5 percent beginning July 1, 2023.
- It establishes a ten-year climate finance program using carbon tax revenue and a bond program to reduce GHG emissions and increase the resilience of Washington's natural resources to the impacts of climate change
Amendments to the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) were passed by the legislature on April 28. The bill, SB 5998, was focused on amendments to the REET, which is levied on sale of a home. It raises $243.5 million over two years, while creating a small tax cut for some home sellers. The bill changes the state portion of the real-estate excise tax, usually paid by people selling homes, from a flat 1.28% to a graduated rate.
Washington state’s Senate released its two year operating budget proposal last Friday, March 29, just a few days after the House’s operating budget proposal.S enate budget writers have taken critical steps in the right direction with their investments and budget priorities.The 2019-2021 Senate budget proposal makes huge strides toward ensuring we have a tax code in which the wealthy pay their fair share, and low-income people get a much-needed break. It also makes significant investments in many of the basic needs assistance programs that low-income kids and adults rely on during hard times. This information was provided by Poverty Action Network. More information is available at poverty action.org.
Take action here and send an email to your Senator letting them know what you think of the Senate budget proposal! If you’d like to see our comparisons of all three budget proposals, do so here.
Hearing of House Housing, Community Development & Veterans Committee on homelessness bills 1219, 1377, 1406 and 1207
The state legislature’s Housing, Community Development & Veterans Committee passed four homelessness bills (described below). These bills would enable local communities and religious organizations to develop affordable housing using existing tax bases.