LOCAL NEWS

State Supreme Court upholds B&O tax on large banks in Washington

Sep 30, 2021, 1:52 PM | Updated: Oct 1, 2021, 6:39 am
B&O tax banks Washington...
A Wells Fargo location in downtown Seattle. (Can Pac Swire, Flickr Creative Commons)

The Supreme Court of Washington State reversed a lower court decision on Thursday, ruling that a B&O tax on banks doing business in Washington state is indeed constitutional.

Washington state lawmakers push to suspend Boeing tax breaks

The tax was passed by the state Legislature in 2019, enacting an additional 1.2% B&O levy on financial institutions worth at least $1 billion.

The Washington Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association filed a lawsuit over the tax later that year, claiming that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause by only targeting out-of-state institutions, and giving banks in Washington an unfair advantage. The groups’ initial filing also alleged that the measure violated the Washington State Constitution due to its initial status as a “title-only” bill.

“Title-only” bills basically function like a legislative IOU — lawmakers first introduce a bill with a title and no text, and then amend it to add the actual provisions later on. In the case of this tax, the bill’s substantive policies weren’t fleshed out until the final two days of the legislative session. The WBA and ABA claimed that violated a clause in the state Constitution requiring bills be introduced at least 10 days before the session ends.

That claim was thrown out in a lower court, with the state Supreme Court subsequently stating that “this case is not the proper venue to collaterally attack or relitigate a dismissed issue.” Regardless, justices did also note that plaintiffs “offered little argument and no case law or persuasive authorities in support” of their argument pertaining to “title-only” bills.

State lawmaker: Capital gains tax ‘not necessarily’ the first step toward income tax

The state Supreme Court voted 8-1 against the banking groups’ other claims, pointing out that the B&O tax “applies equally to all financial institutions meeting the $1 billion income threshold, irrespective of whether they are based inside or outside of Washington.”

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson praised the court’s decision on Thursday, saying that it “correctly applies the law and is a win for those fighting to make Washington’s tax system fairer.”

“I’m proud of my team’s work to uphold Washington’s new progressive tax on the tremendously most profitable large banks operating in Washington,” he added.

KIRO Radio reporter Hanna Scott contributed to this story.

Local News

king county, omicron...
MyNorthwest Staff

King County omicron patient did not report recent travel, suggesting local spread

King County public health shared more information about the local omicron case. The patient did not travel recently and is experiencing mild illness.
1 day ago
Daylight Saving Time, Standard Time...
Nick Bowman

New bill to keep Washington in standard time provides way around need for federal approval

After two years of waiting, state lawmakers will soon consider a proposal to keep Washington in standard time year-round.
1 day ago
Tacoma single family zoning...
Nick Bowman

Tacoma approves landmark bill doing away with single-family zoning label

Tacoma City Council voted Tuesday to approve the first phase of its ambitious "Home in Tacoma" plan to reimagine single-family zoning. 
1 day ago
Tukwila shooting...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Teen hurt, baby in critical condition after Tukwila shooting

A teenage boy and a toddler are in the hospital after they were shot in Tukwila early Wednesday.
1 day ago
Kshama Sawant recall...
Nick Bowman

Late tallies likely to take Kshama Sawant recall vote down to the wire

A recall vote for Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant will likely come all the way down to the wire when it's all said and done.
1 day ago
Kshama Sawant recall, Recall Sawant...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gap narrows in attempt to recall Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant

Results have narrowed in an attempt to recall Seattle District 3 Councilmember Kshama Sawant. The no votes closed the gap with 49.69%. The recall effort sits at 50.31% -- just 246 votes apart.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
State Supreme Court upholds B&O tax on large banks in Washington