Inslee, state Democrats delaying start of long-term care payroll tax

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee and state Democratic leadership announced Friday that they are delaying the collection of the new long-term care payroll tax.

The Washington Cares Fund was originally going to start collecting premiums in January 2022.

A statement from Inslee said legislators “identified some areas that need adjustments” and the delay will allow lawmakers to make changes to the bill during the 2022 legislative session.

The governor said he is ordering the state’s Employment Security Department not to collect premiums from the program from employers before they are due in April.

“While legislation is under consideration to pause the withholding of LTC fees, employers will not be subject to penalties and interest for not withholding fees from employees’ wages during this transition,” Inslee said.

The Long-Term Services and Supports Act, now known as the Washington Cares Fun, was passed in 2019.

“Pausing the program so that it can better serve disabled veterans, military spouses, non-residents, and near retirees will improve the program. A pause will also give the Long Term Care Commission the ability to study and make recommendations about residents who move out of Washington to retire and assure that those who have opted out of the program maintain their private insurance policies. These improvements will provide security and stability now and into the future for this critical safety net for our state’s seniors and people with disabilities,” Sen. Andy Billig and Speaker Laurie Jinkins said in a joint statement.