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Morning update: Session Day 75

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on March 29, 2013 at 8:21 am | No Comments »
March 29, 2013 8:23 am

Lawmakers are on a pared-down schedule on this Good Friday, but a measure important to the budget is up for a hearing now.

The House Committee on Finance is taking testimony on House Bill 1920. The measure is in response to a state Supreme Court decision that essentially left a $160 million hole in the state budget by exempting many married couples from the estate tax that is levied on their property after their deaths.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, is supported by Gov. Jay Inslee’s administration and counted on in his budget.

Another court ruling could blow an even bigger hole in the budget by opening the door for phone companies to sue the state to take advantage of a tax break.

House Bill 1971 is sponsored by Rep. Reuven Carlyle and up for a potential Finance Committee vote today. Inslee and a bipartisan cast of lawmakers also call for closing this exemption, restoring more than $80 million in revenue for the upcoming budget and potentially avoiding the loss of much more in lawsuits.

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