Abbarno invites legislative Democrats to join repeal effort of long-term care payroll tax

Rep. Peter Abbarno today called for House and Senate Democrats to join him and other Republicans in a bipartisan effort to repeal the state’s new long-term care insurance program and payroll tax that is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Abbarno, R-Centralia, has authored legislation he plans to pre-file next week that would fully repeal the WA Cares Fund and the $0.58 payroll tax on every hundred dollars of earnings. Abbarno’s open invite for majority lawmakers to join his effort comes two days after Democratic leaders in the state Senate sent Gov. Jay Inslee a letter urging him to delay implementation of the program for one year.

House Republican Health Care Leader Representative Joe Schmick and I have been at the table for months, along with our other Republican colleagues, thoroughly examining this issue and the 2020 Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Actuarial Study. We have come to the conclusion the only real solution is to fully repeal the long-term care insurance program and the tax. Surprisingly, we’ve heard nothing until now from our Democratic counterparts in the House and Senate, even though the Senate Democrats’ letter acknowledges they have ‘heard loud and clear’ from their constituents about the unfairness of this program,” said Abbarno.

“The leadership void from the governor and Democrats until this eleventh hour is very unfortunate. However, I welcome the discussion with them. I am glad they are finally recognizing this program is so completely flawed that they are now asking for and considering a delay for modifications,” Abbarno added. “The only way to truly ‘fix’ this program is a full repeal as quickly as possible. After that, we can go back to the drawing board and spend the next year engaging private industry and working families across the state in a robust, deliberative discussion to determine if a similar program is even needed. I invite Democrats from both chambers and the governor to join with us in a unified, bipartisan effort to rescind this defective long-term care insurance program and its regressive payroll tax, and work on real solutions.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications