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Thursday, June 13, 2013

State House and Senate Agree on Compromise Estate Tax Fix, but Senate Refuses to Put It to a Vote

Posted by on Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Just one day before the state starts mailing out millions of dollars of refund checks, Senate Republicans and House Democrats came to an agreement on a compromise estate tax fix, only to have senate leaders refuse to put it up for a vote.

"We have a policy deal," House Finance Committee chair Reuven Carlyle told me. "We came to terms, we shook hands, and we wrote this together." Democrats agreed to index the current $2 million exemption to inflation, while providing an additional $2.5 million deduction to estates of some small family businesses. Republicans agreed to raise the tax rate by 1 percent on the portion of estates worth over $4 million so as to keep the changes revenue neutral.

Earlier today the revised compromise bill passed the house by a 53-33 margin, with two Republicans joining the Democratic majority. But not until after Rodney Tom's "Majority Coalition Caucus" nixed a vote on it in the Senate.

"They decided not to decouple the estate tax from the broader politics," explained Carlyle. In other words, although Republican leadership has fully agreed to the estate tax compromise, they are refusing to give it a vote unless Democrats cave on the GOP's non-budget related policy wish list: bills that would weaken workers' compensation, allow school principals to fire teachers at will, and starve future budgets by capping non-education spending at population plus inflation.

"We will not be held hostage to an ideological series of bills simply for the honor of doing our normal jobs," vows Carlyle.

The potential losers of this standoff are too numerous to count. Mostly children. The winners are a handful of millionaires who are about to reap a windfall.

At 8 a.m. tomorrow morning, says Carlyle, a Department of Revenue employee will be standing at the post office "with a handful of checks in one hand and a cell phone in the other." If this staffer gets a call saying the governor has signed an estate tax fix, those checks will be canceled and shredded. Otherwise, $13 million worth of refunds will be dropped in the mail, money our state Education Legacy Trust Fund will never recoup.

UPDATE: To be clear, the amount of money immediately at stake is more than just $13 million. According to DOR there are $95.6 million worth of refunds outstanding. Once the first round of checks out, the other eligible estates would likely win refunds under the equal protection clause, even if the legislature were to fix the law retroactively the very next day. Altogether, failing to fix Bracken would cost the state $159 million through 2015.

So that is the game the Republicans are playing. It is nothing short of extortion.


Comments (16) RSS

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Fuckers. There's only one word for them.
Posted by Sterno on June 13, 2013 at 3:08 PM · Report this
fletc3her 2
It does make me wonder who stands to gain. Who is influential enough to tie up our political process this badly so they get their refund check tomorrow?
Posted by fletc3her on June 13, 2013 at 3:17 PM · Report this

I would repeal the estate tax entirely in exchange for lifting any caps on property tax and making sure that every property is reassessed for Fair Use.

I would also pass HB-2100, an asset tax on intangibles.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on June 13, 2013 at 3:17 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 4
The potential losers of this standoff are too numerous to count. Mostly children. The winners are a handful of millionaires who are about to reap a windfall.

Perfect description of the US eCONomy.
Posted by Original Andrew on June 13, 2013 at 3:22 PM · Report this

Of course you would, Bailo. That's your solution for everything from Senate GOP intransigence to halitosis.
Posted by N in Seattle on June 13, 2013 at 3:33 PM · Report this

You may wish to respond to the argument then, rather than noting how many times I've repeated it.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on June 13, 2013 at 4:07 PM · Report this
Frank Blethen's vodka distiller 7
Supreme's breath and a buffalo fart, a match made in heaven.
Posted by Frank Blethen's vodka distiller on June 13, 2013 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 8
the devil on my shoulder kinda wants to see the GOP force a shutdown over shit like this.

when the state parks shut down for July 4th, they're going to hear it, and i want them to hear it.

bailo, it's not happening. stop beating that dead horse.
Posted by Max Solomon on June 13, 2013 at 4:59 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 9
Time to stop sending money from King (30 pct of state pop) to the Takers we subsidize elsewhere.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 13, 2013 at 5:33 PM · Report this
@6, we're tired of responding. Look back at the last 5 years of responses to your silly stuff.
Posted by sarah70 on June 13, 2013 at 8:13 PM · Report this
@3 how exactly would your solution solve the problem sited in Goldy's post?
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on June 13, 2013 at 8:52 PM · Report this
@5 Don't feed the trolls.
Posted by I Got Nuthin' on June 13, 2013 at 9:10 PM · Report this
Ho, hum, another day, another time the Dems have the GOP pull the football out from under them a la Lucy and Charlie Brown. When are they going to learn?
Posted by Bax on June 13, 2013 at 9:40 PM · Report this
Rujax! 15

It's "cited" you fuck. One of the reasons nobody takes you seriously.
Posted by Rujax! on June 13, 2013 at 10:32 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 16
Would somebody please kick Rodney Tom in the nuts? Preferably hard enough to bounce them off his kidneys.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on June 13, 2013 at 10:51 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 17
@15 Ever notice that when you pick on somebody's typo or misspelling, your likelihood of making an error in your own post goes up enormously?
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on June 13, 2013 at 10:55 PM · Report this

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