State House Finance Committee Members Visit Spokane

July 19, 2018

Representatives Laurie Dolan (D-22), Noel Frame (D-36), Terry Nealey (R-16), and Ed Orcutt (R-20) of the Washington State House Finance Committee made a trip to Spokane to hold an official Committee workshop and public testimony event at the Historic Davenport Hotel to discuss tax issues. Attending this meeting were staff members of elected officials and candidates for office, activists, small business owners, lobbyists, and Chamber representatives. This group of roughly 50 attendees were assembled into small groups to debate and discuss three questions pitched by the Representatives.

  1. What parts of the State’s current tax structure is not working well and why?
  2. What changes would you make?
  3. If your proposed changes resulted in a loss of revenue for the State, what alternative revenue source(s) would you suggest?

As the Representatives walked around the room, they got to witness spirited debate and exchange of opinions when the groups reached question three as alternative funding sources for the State were discussed. However, while there was much disagreement, the group agreed on two things.

  1. Sales tax, while it produces most of the State’s revenue, is a risky source of funds, since it could quickly go away in the event of an economic downturn.
  2. The State’s Business and Occupation (B+O) Tax is complicated and does not treat all businesses fairly.