Tax Expenditure Budget Bill Introduced Again in Washington State Legislature

Representative Gerry Pollet (LD-46) has reintroduced the Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act in the 2015 Legislative Session. He was the prime sponsor of the bill in the House last year with 24 sponsors.

This year as HB 1239 it has 26 sponsors. They are Representatives Pollet, Appleton, Reykdal, Moscoso, S. Hunt, Stanford, Fitzgibbon, Kagi, Farrell, Ortiz-Self, Dunshee, Walkinshaw, Pettigrew, Tharinger, Ryu, Sells, Tarleton, Santos, Goodman, Cody, Wylie, McBride, Bergquist, Riccelli, Ormsby, Kirby

The bill has been introduced in the state Senate as SB 5492 by Senator David Frockt (LD-46). The Senate sponsors are Senators Frockt, Kohl-Welles, Hasegawa, Billig, Conway, Keiser, Chase, Rolfes, Ranker, Jayapal, Miloscia, McAuliffe

The bill digest is:

Establishes the tax exemption transparency and accountability act.
Creates a tax expenditure budget as part of the biennial budget adopted by the legislature.
Reforms the tax expenditure process by including tax expenditures in a tax expenditure budget in the biennial state budget process and requires they be readopted every two years as part of the budget process or they expire.
Requires the joint legislative audit and review committee to report its findings and recommendations for scheduled tax expenditures to the citizen commission for performance measurement of tax expenditures by June 30th of each year.

The state biennial omnibus operating appropriations act would be required under this measure to include a tax expenditure budget to approve new and existing discretionary tax preferences, including exemptions, deductions, credits and deferrals.  The tax expenditure budget would detail the fiscal impact, purpose, and effectiveness in meeting the purpose of each tax preference.  Tax preferences not included in the tax expenditure budget would expire at the end of the calendar year in which the budget is adopted.

This bill would require new and discretionary tax preferences to be authorized every two years in  tax expenditure budget.  It would add much needed transparency to the hundreds of tax preferences or  exemptions, along with their cost and how much each decision to spend money on an exemption or preference is a choice to expend funds for this purpose with particular beneficiaries.


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