Stokesbary criticizes majority’s supplemental operating budget, releases SAFE Washington budget framework that provides permanent 1% sales tax cut

Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement today regarding the 2022 supplemental operating budget proposed by the majority:

“After spending two years under lockdowns and enormous financial stress, families across our state are now facing the highest inflation rate in over forty years, which is costing the average household an extra $250 per month. But while families are grappling with rising costs, the state is enjoying a historic $15 billion budget surplus. That is why it is deeply disappointing that, despite record revenue growth, the majority party’s budget proposal does not provide any real tax relief for working families.”

To demonstrate the state’s ability to provide meaningful tax relief for working families while still addressing other critical needs, Stokesbary released the “SAFE Washington” budget framework today.

The framework would:

  • Cut the state sales tax by a full percentage point.
  • Deliver billions of dollars in ongoing funding for transportation projects.
  • Reduce B&O taxes on the sectors seeing the highest inflation, including manufacturing, timber, and food processors.
  • Repeal the mandatory long-term care tax and replace it with an optional program.
  • Rescue the beleaguered Paid Family & Medical Program to avoid another payroll tax increase on employees next year.
  • Offer one-time grants to businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns, including hotels and restaurants.
  • Approve state employee collective bargaining agreements.
  • Provide police departments with funding for officer retention and recruitment bonuses.
  • Transfer $1 billion to the state’s rainy-day fund.
  • Leave a four-year surplus of $2.1 billion for other supplemental-year government spending programs.

“I am offering the SAFE Washington budget framework to demonstrate that we can afford real, substantial tax relief for working families without compromising state services. In stark contrast to the House Democrats’ spending priorities, my plan would permanently reduce the state sales tax by a full percentage point rather than merely offering a one-time, three-day sales tax holiday. And unlike the Democrats’ transportation proposal, the SAFE Washington framework would provide enough transportation funding to improve roads and address congestion without the need for new fees or taxes.

“The SAFE Washington framework funds all of this and still leaves a four-year surplus of $2.1 billion for other new spending items. It is time to stop claiming we want to help working families, and to actually implement real tax relief for them. House Republicans are committed to ensuring that happens before session adjourns, and call on the majority to join us in this effort.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications