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caption: Andy Aronis, Assistant General Manager of King's Hardware, smokes a cigarette outside of the boarded up bar and restaurant on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, on Ballard Avenue Northwest in Seattle. "I always felt good working in the bar industry because it's recession proof," said Aronis, who planned to file for unemployment. "The only thing you don't consider working in this industry is if there is a medical pandemic and then we are in the worst industry you could be in."
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Andy Aronis, Assistant General Manager of King's Hardware, smokes a cigarette outside of the boarded up bar and restaurant on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, on Ballard Avenue Northwest in Seattle. "I always felt good working in the bar industry because it's recession proof," said Aronis, who planned to file for unemployment. "The only thing you don't consider working in this industry is if there is a medical pandemic and then we are in the worst industry you could be in."
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Legislative Lookahead: Inslee signs Covid relief bill, and capital gains tax 'likely' to reach his desk this year

It’s day 43 of Washington’s 105-day legislative session. That means the halfway point is coming right up.

Monday, February 22, is a key deadline in the Washington Legislature. It’s the final day for fiscal committees to approve bills.

Last Monday was the deadline for policy bills to make it out of committee.

So where do things stand, and what’s ahead in Olympia?

$2.2 billion Covid relief

Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a $2.2 billion Covid relief package on Friday. The money is slated for:

  • Vaccine administration
  • In-person classes at schools
  • Addressing food insecurity
  • Assistance for renters
  • Assistance for small businesses
  • Assistance for undocumented immigrants

Applications for small business assistance and rental assistance are not likely to be open until mid-March according to KUOW's Austin Jenkins.

Capital gains tax

Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck says he's likely to see another welcome bill on his desk this year: a capital gains tax.

But it doesn't look exactly like the proposal Inslee initially asked for. Jenkins notes that the bill is a slimmed down version — instead of a 9% tax on capital gains, it's 7%. It also raises the threshold for who qualifies — Inslee aimed for a tax on $25,000 per individual; now it kicks in at $250,000. There are also new exceptions, such as the sales of small businesses and real estate. Proceeds from the tax are meant to fund education.

Lt. Governor Heck told Jenkins he feels there is good momentum for such a bill to pass this year.

"If you're asking me 'do I think a capital gains tax will get to the Governor's desk this year?' I think the answer is 'likely yes,'" Heck said.

Republicans are apposed to the capital gains tax, arguing that it is really an income tax. If a bill passes, it will likely end up in court.

Ban on police tactics

There is also a bill up for consideration aimed at banning some police tactics such as choke holds, neck restraints, and tear gas. It also bans the use of dogs to make arrests.

The bill is currently en route through committees.

Click on the audio above to listen to the full discussion with Austin Jenkins.