This week on TDN’s podcast “The Roundup” features an hour-long conversation about the last legislative session with three Republican members of the state legislative delegation: State Sen. John Braun and state Reps. Ed Orcutt and Jim Walsh.
The three legislators said they were generally pleased by the region’s success in the state capitol budget. Major allocations to Cowlitz County included funding for Scott Hill Park and the Community Library in Woodland, the North County Recreation Association and Longview Police shooting range in Castle Rock, R.A. Long Park in Longview and another $1 million for improvements at Tam O’Shanter Park in Kelso.
But the lawmakers shared frustrations with several tax bills the Legislature adopted, especially Senate Bill 5997. Under that bill, beginning July 1 residents in Oregon, Alaska, Montana, Delaware and New Hampshire will have to apply for a sales-tax reimbursement each year for purchases they make at Washington retailers, rather than receiving an immediate exemption at the checkout line.
“I think that’s going to have devastating effects on retailers in this area,” Orcutt said. “I’m very disappointed in it.”
“We ran out of folks to tax in Washington, so we taxed Oregonians,” Braun said.
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Walsh said financial estimates of the bill’s impact should have considered more of the potential depression on interstate commerce from Oregon to Washington, which may reduce the revenue the bill brings in.
“(It’s) just stupid,” Walsh said. “It’s stupid policy.”
And about two-thirds of the way through the episode (minute mark 39:00), the conversation moves more broadly into a discussion about the urban-rural split in the Legislature, and how the three are trying to navigate that divide.
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