On the heels of the worst economic collapse in decades, state legislators are looking for ways to fill a $5 billion+ revenue shortfall over the coming two years. It’s no small task, especially with hundreds of tax exemptions worth billions of dollars making Swiss cheese out of the state’s budget. But Rep. Eileen Cody has one specific proposal that just might work.
House Bill 1847, introduced by Cody last week, proposes closing tax loopholes for Wall Street Banks, elective cosmetic surgery, and private jets. The new revenue would be dedicated to saving the Washington Basic Health Plan – currently funded through April – which provides health coverage for tens of thousands of working families in Washington.
If you agree this is a smart policy idea, then drop your own legislator a line (or give them a call) to encourage them to support Rep. Cody’s bill.
There are more than 550 exemptions on the books in Washington. Many date from the 1930’s, but only a small share have been updated or reexamined since their initial passage. The state’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee has scrutinized 95 of these special deals so far, in an attempt to measure their public value. More than one-third of those examined have been recommended for termination or reevaluation.
At a time when teachers are being laid off, programs shuttered, and every dollar squeezed, tax exemptions deserve the same level of scrutiny as every other government function, and should be prioritized accordingly. Please tell your representative to support HB 1847, and save Basic Health by ending unjust tax exemptions.