Group urges Washington to suspend B&O taxes during crisis
The Washington Policy Center is encouraging Gov. Jay Inslee to waive all Business and Occupation taxes retroactively to March 1.
If the governor has the legal authority, the research and watchdog group said, he should waive tax due dates, fees and penalties for the businesses severely impacted by Proclamation 20-13, which effectively closed restaurants, food courts and locations where people gather to slow the spread of coronavirus, which causes the deadly COVID-19.
It said lawmakers should consider rolling back a B&O tax increased imposed during the just-concluded 2020 session.
“By helping those businesses restricted from normal operations by government in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, we will improve the likelihood that employees will actually have jobs to come back to when the emergency situation is over and help our economy recover faster,” it said.
A spokesman for the governor said the office is looking at a lot of proposals but could not comment further on the B&O tax suggestion.
The governor’s proclamation has had dire effects on restaurants, food courts, bars, taverns, coffee shops, caterers, blubs, bowling alleys, food and beverage venues, theaters, bowling alleys, gyms, fitness centers, non-tribal card rooms, pool halls and more.
The Washington Policy Center said other hospitality-related businesses should be given consideration for emergency tax relief.
The governor has signed several emergency bills, including allocating $200 million to combat coronavirus and measures to combat coronavirus. The bill permits using $25 million from the state’s Budget Stabilization Account to help businesses with unemployment impacts.
Other bills speed up credentialing for health care workers so they can get to work faster, extends health care benefits to hourly school employees during school closures, increased access to the state’s shared leave program to employees forced to isolate or quarantine because of infection or exposure to COVID-19, limiting access to long-term care facilities and suspending eye-testing requirements for driver licenses .
Track news from Gov. Jay Inslee’s office here: governor.wa.gov/