A tale of two elections is how Jason Mercier, Director for the Center for Government Reform, a non-partisan thinktank for economic policy, called the current confusion surrounding the 2020 elections at the moment. While confusion reigns supreme in the national elections, a clearer picture is beginning to emerge for Washington State elections. Jason underscored that much of what we expected to happen on the state level is occurring and also highlighted that official election results are not declared until Nov. 24th in Washington. Washington state is a post-marked state, meaning that all ballots post-marked by election day are eligible to be counted. This also means that Friday should provide the best and most accurate picture of where the state stands on many of the issues on the ballot.
There has been talk that Governor Jay Inslee could be invited to work in Joe Biden's cabinet if Biden is successful in his presidential campaign. If this is the case, the Lieutenant Governor, Denny Heck, would step in as governor until a secondary election would take place, likely in 2022, to replace Inslee for the remainder of the term.
Jason discussed the resilient tax structure within Washington State that has allowed the state to weather the storm of the Novel Coronavirus quite well. The state budget is set every two years, and we are currently mid-way through the state budget period. Before coronavirus and the stay-home orders, the state had expanded spending due to an increase in the budget. In September, the budget started looking up, with revenue in the state continuing to grow due to the strong tax structure within the state.
Going in to 2021, Washington is looking at a few potential tax hikes through capital gains, statewide payroll, and business taxes. Other issues in the upcoming session revolve around car tabs, 2021 transportation tax package, low carbon fuel standard, and carbon tax. Each of these issues has unique challenges and Jason breaks down the details of each new tax proposal.
One of the biggest issues on everyone's mind is how and when schools will be back for in-person learning. While the Department of Health has maintained that there are safe ways to get back to school, districts are currently wary of making the calls for fear of lawsuits in the event that someone catches the coronavirus. However, the Kennewick school district is being sued for not opening schools.
Ballots have already been cast, but citizens still have an opportunity to have their voices heard. The legislature is currently deciding whether to meet remotely, in-person, or a hybrid of the two. Either way, citizens should have the opportunity to access their lawmakers and make their voices heard on the issues involving our state.
Click to view the entire video as Jason Mercier goes into far greater detail on all of the tax issues facing our state. Additionally, if you would like to learn more about the Washington Policy Center, visit www.washingtonpolicy.org/donate/page/policy-partners for an opportunity to try a free 6-month membership!
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