2021 Legislative Session Round-Up

by Mike Nelson | Apr 26, 2021

On Sunday, the Legislative Session in Olympia ended as legislators wrapped up their work for the year. This was a 105-day session held for the first time entirely online due to the continued COVID-19 restrictions. “This session was the busiest and one of the toughest we at the WSCPA and our Government Affairs Committee have ever seen,” said Kimberly Scott, WSCPA President & CEO.

The session was limited to primarily focus on COVID, the biennial budget, and race and environmental issues.

During the last week a new $59 billion biennial budget was adopted. Many new programs were included in this budget that address recovery from the COVID pandemic and the resulting business shutdowns.

Early in the session Representative Amy Walen (D-Kirkland) sponsored and passed the WSCPA’s priority legislation. House Bill 1095 was passed unanimously from both chambers within the first month of the legislative session and was signed by Governor Inslee on February 19. This bill exempts Paycheck Protection Program and other qualifying public grants from B&O and other taxes. This allows the money given to businesses and organizations to fully go toward the needs they faced as a result of COVID restrictions.

In addition to this important bill, throughout this session the WSCPA has improved its role as a trusted advisor to legislators when it comes to the implementation of various tax policies. We were asked by legislators in both the Senate and House of Representatives to review various tax proposals that were being considered. Our Government Affairs Committee was able to analyze these proposals, meet with legislators and the Washington State Department of Revenue to review various administrative challenges, and point out potential unintended consequences of the legislation. Thanks to our input, many changes were made in proposals and, in some instances, the legislation was paused, while the issues we raised were considered and addressed.

Although the session has ended, the Government Affairs Committee will continue working with legislators who requested our feedback on proposals which they hope to introduce next year. The WSCPA and the Washington State Board of Accountancy (WBOA) will begin work on legislation that we will advocate for next year. The WBOA will also start the process of rulemaking this summer and fall on some changes that affect the profession moving forward.

Thank you to all the members who helped either on the Government Affairs Committee or by speaking to legislators on important issues facing the profession.

Mike Nelson is the WSCPA Manager of Government Affairs. You can contact him at mnelson@wscpa.org.

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