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Lawmakers Consider Tax Rebate for WA Families

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Tuesday, February 2, 2021   

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington state lawmakers could provide a tax rebate to residents this year to speed up recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

House Bill 1297 would offer a base credit of $500 per filer and add $150 for each child up to three.

It's sponsored by nearly every member of the House.

Rep. My-Linh Thai, D-Bellevue, said the rebate is part of the state's economic recovery package.

"When people are empowered and giving back the cash in their hands, in their pockets so that they can take care of their needs, that is how we recover," Thai contended.

The bill is scheduled for a public hearing today at 1:30 p.m. in the House Committee on Finance. It would reinvigorate the Working Families Tax Credit, which passed in 2008 but was never funded.

State lawmakers are looking at a massive budget shortfall because of the pandemic.

Thai noted low-income Washingtonians share a higher burden of taxes compared with wealthy residents, and added the bill would help repair the state's upside-down tax system.

"To correct some of that, not all of it, is that the people who are working yet they still struggle, they couldn't make [it] so they can move themselves above poverty line, they should get the rebate back," Thai asserted.

The bill also would allow people to file using an Individual Tax Identification Number in place of a Social Security number, an identification used for a diverse group, including undocumented folks, students and domestic-violence survivors.

Thai pointed out the larger share of the bill's benefit will go to communities of color.

"This is one way to address racial justice in the economic portions of the work attempting to correct some of the wrongdoing that we've done for so long," Thai concluded.

After its public hearing today, House Bill 1297 is scheduled for an executive session Thursday. Its companion bill in the Senate has 20 sponsors and will receive a public hearing Thursday as well.


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