The Republican House has passed 22 tax-cut bills worth $738 million this session. On Monday, the chamber announced it will pass the measures again - all rolled into one big mega-bill.
Just so the people will see that unlike the Democratic Senate, the House is “absolutely serious” about tax relief, said a news release from House Republican Media Services.
“What it shows me is that once more they’re into political campaigning rather than governing,” countered Senate budget chief Nita Rinehart, D-Seattle.
Not so, said House Finance Chairman Brian Thomas, R-Renton.
“What this is, is an effort to pull it all together to show how broad-based our tax relief is,” he said. Citizens have difficulty following the fate of 22 bills, but not the fate of one, he said.
The House wants “more headlines” of tax cut votes, retorted Rinehart, whose chamber has proposed about $252 million in tax cuts, or roughly a third of the House proposal.
Senate Democrats contend cuts beyond that would threaten basic and higher education. House Republicans say basic education would not be greatly affected, adding that the Senate is trying to save teacher pay raises, not programs.
In any case, another House tax-cut vote, still to be scheduled, “might get publicity but will have no effect on reality,” Rinehart said.
Both chambers have passed sales tax exemptions for manufacturing equipment. The measures must be reconciled before going to Gov. Mike Lowry, who first proposed the tax relief as a way to keep and lure business to Washington. The Senate measure is worth about $157 million and the House about $180 million.
The Senate also has passed a $100 million exemption in sales taxes on medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, over-the-counter drugs and eyeglasses.
But the House has passed nearly $300 million in business and occupation tax reductions and $183 million in property tax relief, along with a blizzard of smaller tax breaks that stretch from beer to blood banks.