To: The Washington State House, The Washington State Senate, and Governor Jay Inslee

Close Tax Loopholes Now!

In order to increase accountability and close tax loopholes, the Washington State Legislature should adopt a Tax Expenditure Budget as part of its biennial budget process.

Why is this important?

As off budget spending, tax exemptions lack the accountability that other state spending undergoes when the state approves its biennial budget. Tax exemptions are expenditures of state money that would otherwise be available to fund state services.

Tax exemptions reduce available funds for education, health care and other important state services. Many tax exemptions are actually tax loopholes that benefit special interests but don't meet state priorities for funding.

Tuition doubled for my son and daughter between when they started college and graduated. Washington State needs to provide sufficient revenue to keep college affordable for all students so we have an educated workforce for the future.

Washington State currently has over 650 tax exemptions. According to the State Department of Revenue in the last biennium, while Washington State collected some $21 billion in B&O, sales and use taxes, it excluded from collection over $20 billion in tax exemptions. The system is broken when if everyone paid the same in taxes, the state would have twice as much revenue..

Requiring that the Washington State Legislature adopt a Tax Expenditure Budget every two years as part of the biennial budget process would make tax exemptions more transparent and accountable to Washington taxpayers. The Legislature needs to prioritize tax exemptions and close tax loopholes not meeting state needs.

Creating a Tax Expenditure Budget detailing the tax expenditures (exemptions) and the amount of revenue the Legislature is not collecting, will help Legislators to prioritize closing tax loopholes not meeting state priorities and needs.

Petition by Steve Zemke, Director Tax Sanity