Tax increases considered as a solution to the coronavirus budget shortfalls

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic restrictions implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19 have had a dramatic impact on the state budget, with shortfalls as large as $10B projected over the next three years. While Governor Inslee has remained non-committal about the prospect of tax increases, members of his administration have indicated that the state will explore opportunities to increase revenue.

“The idea of solving this budget problem with an all-cuts budget is not something this governor is interested in and I can’t imagine he would sign such a budget,” says David Schumacher, director of the Office of Financial Management.

Those sentiments are echoed by influential members of the state legislature.

“I think it may be that this crisis is rationale for making meaningful tax reform,” said Senator Christine Rolfe (D), chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “Everything is on the table.”

While economic restrictions have placed state and local governments in a difficult position, the Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) holds that policymakers should explore every alternative possible before passing any tax increase on Washington businesses and families.

“The WBA Policy Center will continue to monitor developments that impact Whatcom County,” said Barbara Chase, WBA Executive Director. “We sympathize with our elected officials. These are unprecedented times and unprecedented challenges. However, communities and families simply cannot bear additional costs as they too struggle under the weight of the pandemic and economic downturn.”

Please continue to follow the WBA Policy Center in the coming weeks and months for more information on proposed legislation and regulations. In addition, please consider supporting our effort with your contribution. To learn more about the WBA and the WBA Policy Center, contact Executive Director Barbara Chase.