Inslee says he doesn’t have ‘authority’ to cancel long-term care tax

Oct 29, 2021, 1:37 PM | Updated: 2:54 pm
long-term care...
Deborah Trigueiro (R) visits her husband, Douglas Smith, at the Life Care Center of Kirkland. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

If you get a W2, you have until Sunday to sign up for private long-term care insurance and opt-out, or you will be paying a new state tax.

Private long-term care insurance all but impossible to get ahead of new state tax

“This is a system that will provide like Medicare, like Social Security, financed in some similar ways, so that people will not become wards of the state,” Gov. Inslee explained.

There have previously been calls for the governor to delay the Jan. 1 start date of the new tax, or even to make it optional, but Inslee said Thursday that he does not have the authority to do so.

“I really don’t have authority unilaterally to do it,” he said. “And I have not heard serious efforts from legislative leaderships that they want to do that.”

“I do not have authority willy-nilly to just cancel these laws, and I don’t believe I have any emergency authority in this case — this is not COVID related,” he added.

Many state legislators have said they want to make changes to the state’s new and mandatory long-term care program, but that won’t happen before January.

Vancouver woman warns public to be careful choosing long-term care insurance

Inslee does think, however, that there will be changes next year. He said he thinks there are some things that “deserve a look” to see if they can be improved.

“I do believe there are some things that are going to be on the plate for the legislation in January to make some amendments,” Gov. Inslee said. “I’m open to a few of those ideas, and I think they’re going to get serious consideration.”

The tax, which starts in January, will collect 0.58% of people’s income to go toward long-term care benefits. A person who has paid into the tax for 10 years can collect up to $36,500 in benefits if they are still living in Washington state. That means anyone in Washington who works at least 12.5 hours a week will see $5.80 taken out of their paycheck for every $1,000 they earn.

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Inslee says he doesn’t have ‘authority’ to cancel long-term care tax