Legislature adjourns remote 2021 session with new tax increases, regulations from majority Democrats
State lawmakers wrapped up the 2021 legislative session Sunday evening after conducting their business remotely behind computer screens due to the COVID pandemic. John Sattgast reports.
SATTGAST: It was a session like no other. Lawmakers debating and voting remotely from their homes and offices across Washington state. House Republican Leader Representative J.T. Wilcox said it allowed for a more dominant Democratic progressive agenda that left the rest of Washington behind.
WILCOX: “If you are an everyday resident of Washington, I think it was a session that ended up being totally out of balance. And your life is poised to get much more expensive and much more constrained by regulation.”
SATTGAST: Majority Democrats passed a capital gains income tax Saturday that likely will be challenged in the courts. House Republican Finance Leader Representative Ed Orcutt said the new tax is unnecessary since revenue has grown more than 4 billion dollars over the previous biennium.
ORCUTT: “It's unintended, it's unfair, unconstitutional, unstable, unnecessary, unpopular, and because of the emergency clause, it's also unadvisable.”
SATTGAST: Also heading to the governor's desk is a new low carbon fuel standard mandate and a bill to enact a complex cap-and-trade system in Washington. Representative Mary Dye of Pomeroy says it will drive up the cost of gasoline significantly.
DYE: “This is regressive and a heavy burden for the families – for the working people of Washington state.”
SATTGAST: Lawmakers completed the weekend passing all three budgets – transportation, capital, and a $59 billion dollar state operating budget that Republicans say relies on tax increases, is unsustainable and boosts spending by $7 billion dollars. John Sattgast, the state Capitol.
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