MYNORTHWEST NEWS

State senator proposes bill to repeal Washington’s long-term care tax

Dec 10, 2021, 5:04 AM | Updated: 10:16 am

long term care tax...

(Photo by Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images)

(Photo by Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images)

A state senator has pre-filed a bill, hoping for a quick repeal of Washington’s new long-term care tax when the Legislature meets next month.

“The bill that I introduced would repeal a long-term care tax that the voters overwhelmingly rejected in an advisory ballot,” Sen. Mark Schoesler said.

Gov. Inslee: ‘May be possible’ to delay long-term care tax while lawmakers work through issues

Many have suggested legislators make changes to the program, but Schoesler says that won’t work. He says the bill is so flawed, it’s better to just throw it out.

“I think there’s nothing inherently wrong with long-term care, but this vehicle is so flawed, it can’t be salvaged,” he said.

“It’s not portable, discriminates against military, older people never see a dime — on and on,” he added.

Schoesler’s proposal also calls for setting up a commission to study better long-term care options available from private companies.

He worries that the same office — the Employment Security Department — that bungled pandemic unemployment checks will be involved in running the program.

“We saw massive shipments of our tax dollars go to Nigeria, now we find fraud within the agency and embezzlement,” he said. “And an agency that’s overwhelmed is going to take this project on?”

Sen. Schoesler says he also worries about expensive lawsuits with the upcoming tax.

“We could end up in litigation and lose, and as we go to fix these flaws — every one costs money — we could see a tripling of premiums if we try to fix a failed plan,” he said.

State lawmaker calls for halt on new long-term care tax, claims ‘it’s not set up to work’

The state senator believes he will have bipartisan support to throw out the current requirements and look for a better solution.

Under the tax, all W2 employees who average 12.5 hours per week will start to see the deductions for a long-term care tax as of Jan. 1, 2022. A person earning $50,000 a year will pay $290 a year in additional taxes. The deadline to opt out of the program was Nov. 1, but that process was contingent on having a separate private long-term care insurance policy.

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State senator proposes bill to repeal Washington’s long-term care tax