Friday, February 10, 2012

Rep. Carlyle discusses tax exemption reform

Rep. Reuven Carlyle, a democrat from Seattle, introduced legislation that would fundamentally change the way the state approaches tax exemptions.  Rep. Carlyle introduced a bi-partisan plan at a press conference with Rep. Glenn Anderson, a republican from Fall City, last Friday.

House Bill 2762 would add expiration dates (also known as “sunsets”) to 251 tax preferences currently in state law. These tax breaks, some of which have been on the books since 1935, are worth about $2 billion in tax revenue that won’t be collected in 2013.

“Today, tax exemptions, credits, and loopholes in our state in effect can’t be terminated, they can’t be modified, and they can’t be changed,” said Rep. Carlyle. “That’s bad public policy regardless of how your politics come down.”

Carlyle is referring to the voter-approved Initiative 1053 that requires all tax increases to receive a two-thirds super-majority vote of the Legislature to become law.

Under HB 2762, these types of tax preferences would expire every ten years unless the Legislature votes, by a simple majority, to reauthorize them.

Rep. Carlyle emphasized that this is not intended to be a short-term budget fix. He hopes this bill will help get a conversation started with other lawmakers about problem of “philosophical inconsistencies” in the legislative process of enacting and repealing tax breaks.  “This is about instituting long-term, structural, responsible reform.”

You can read about more about Rep. Carlyle’s proposal here, here, and here.

To read this story in Spanish, click here.