Tax Breaks Were Instrumental in Reaching State Budget Deal

As part of a new budget deal, Republican and Democratic lawmakers approved 16 tax breaks that are worth an estimated $13 million. These breaks in taxes would aid restaurants, mint farms, nonprofit gun clubs, beekeepers, and international investment firms.

These exemptions in taxes were necessary for Senate Republicans to agree to end current tax breaks for residential phone service that they expect will net around $85 million by 2015.

Rep. Reuven Carlyle of Seattle says, “In addition to ending the tax break for phone service, Democrats also got an agreement to set expiration dates on tax breaks, and to disclose the value of future exemptions. The only way we were able to get the bill through was because of that.”

The new breaks in taxes will open opportunities to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

The House and Senate approved the operating budget on Friday. The breaks in taxes are contained in a separate measure, Senate Bill 5882; both cleared both chambers with large majorities.

Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said “Tax breaks can serve a useful purpose. Tax loopholes we absolutely need to close, but there are tax incentives that I think are valid. (In the past) we closed the tax loopholes for banks, but we gave one to newspapers and the dairy industry … Not every tax break is necessarily bad.”

Some of the tax breaks that were approved just extended exemptions that were due to expire. The beekeepers one alone is worth $120,000 over two years.