WASHINGTON – A tax break that has saved Washington residents up to $500 million annually is once again caught up in Congress’ rush to adjourn, but this year the maneuvering has become entangled in election-year politics and the race between Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican challenger Dino Rossi.
Over the past week, Republicans and Democrats on the Senate floor have both blocked efforts to extend the break, which allows residents of Washington and six other states without an income tax to deduct the amount they paid in state sales tax on their federal returns.
The issue has always been an end of the session item with sharp disagreements particularly over how to pay for it. But it has escalated into the latest flashpoint in the already contentious Senate race.
“I am going to keep fighting to get this done, but I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans continue to treat this as an election year game when families across my home state of Washington are counting on us to get something done,” Murray said after Republicans blocked her push Wednesday night to pass a one-year extension.
On Monday night, after Democrats blocked a Republican effort to pass a permanent extension, Rossi said, “Instead of finishing the work the people of Washington state elected her to do, Senator Murray opted instead to put politics first and gamble with the jobs and paychecks of every Washingtonian.”