The Senate Ways & Means Committee will be holding a hearing on the Washington State Wealth Tax this Thursday, March 9th.
The bill, SB 5486, sponsored by Sen. Noel Frame (D-Seattle) would create a narrowly tailored property tax on extreme wealth derived from the ownership of stocks, bonds, and other financial assets, with the proceeds dedicated to education, housing, disability services, and tax credits for working families. The first $250 million of assessed value is exempted, meaning only the wealthiest people in Washington would pay the tax, including some of the wealthiest individuals in the world.
The hearing will be at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, in Senate Hearing Room 4 of the John A. Cherberg building. It can be viewed online on TVW here. Members of the public wishing to register their position on the bill can do so here: https://bit.ly/wealthtaxsignin.
The wealth tax operates similarly to Washington’s well-established property tax on homes and real estate. By extending the property tax to include stocks, bonds, and other financial assets, the Washington State Wealth Tax ensures that extremely wealthy Washingtonians – some of the richest people in the world – are taxed on their assets just like middle-class families are already taxed on theirs.
The revenue generated is dedicated to four funds — the Education Legacy Trust Fund, which is a dedicated funding source for early learning, K-12, and higher education; the Housing Trust Fund, which pays for the construction of affordable housing and the state’s down payment assistance program to increase access to homeownership; and two new funds created in the bill: a disabilities care trust account that will pay for services for Washingtonians with disabilities, and a taxpayer justice account that is intended to offer credits against taxes paid disproportionately by low-income and middle-income families.
“We have an upside-down tax code here in Washington that benefits some of the wealthiest people in the world, and it’s time that they pay what they owe,” said Frame. “Making the wealthy few pay what they owe in taxes would allow us to fund our communities with the quality schools, affordable housing, and services our neighbors with disabilities need to thrive. This is a commonsense bill that ensures that some of the richest people in the world pay property taxes on their assets just like middle-class families who own a home pay taxes on theirs.”