‘This is the year to do it’: Bill to reduce Washington sales tax garners bipartisan support

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A proposal to reduce Washington’s sales and use tax is garnering bipartisan support in the state Legislature this session.

SB 5932 would cut Washington’s sales tax rate on retail items by 1%, lowering it from 6.5% to 5.5%.

While Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature have frequently been at odds over taxation, the bill has already garnered support from both sides of the aisle. It was originally sponsored by Democratic State Sen. Mona Das, who is now being joined by fellow Democrat Patty Kuderer as a co-sponsor, in addition to nine Republicans. That includes GOP Senate Minority Leader John Braun, and Senators Phil Fortunato, Perry Dozier, Chris Gildon, Jeff Holy, Ann Rivers, Keith Wagoner, Judy Warnick, and Lynda Wilson.

For Das, the bill is about providing a salve to a tax code acknowledged by some to be among the most regressive of any state.

“We need to get money back in people’s pockets if we’re to make a full recovery from the high public health cost and economic cost of this pandemic,” she said in a press release announcing her proposal late last week. “Together, they are strong tools to fix Washington’s unbalanced, regressive tax code that asks more of working families than it does of the wealthiest among us.”

If passed, the reduction would take effect in January of 2023.

Das is also pushing for a separate bill — SB 5915 — which would seek to exempt diapers from sales taxes altogether, and would take effect on July 1, 2022.

“We need to take a serious look at tax relief for all working Washingtonians, and this is the year to do it,” she said.