Abbarno says state’s long-term care program and payroll tax is delayed, not ‘fixed,’ despite governor’s comments

Rep. Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, says the state's controversial long-term care program and payroll tax is delayed, but not fixed, despite Gov. Jay Inslee's comments Thursday.

Inslee signed into law an 18-month delay of the state's new controversial long-term care program and payroll tax. The tax, which was supposed to start being collected by employers this month, is now delayed until July of 2023. Benefits are delayed 18 months under the bill until July 2026.

“So the good news coming out of here, it's been fixed,” Inslee told reporters during a news conference Thursday. “It's a solid program and we look forward to getting it going.”

Abbarno, who sponsored House Bill 1594 to fully repeal the program, said the governor's comments are premature, and that it is far from being fixed.

“The governor's statement that the WA Cares Payroll Tax Program is fixed ignores the insolvency of the program, marginalizes working families experiencing hardships, and disregards all those families that purchased and continue paying for private plans merely to escape this unpopular program and regressive payroll tax,” said Abbarno. “The mission is not accomplished, despite the governor's comments.”

When majority Democrats rejected bringing Abbarno's repeal bill to the House floor for a vote on Jan. 19, the 20th District lawmaker says he voted in favor of the Democratic-sponsored legislation, House Bill 1732, that implements the 18-month delay, so there would be an opportunity to work on real solutions to the program.

“Working families deserve a solvent plan that addresses their long-term care needs. We need to continue to work on real solutions in a bipartisan way that incentivizes planning rather than the current program that punishes working families,” said Abbarno. “We still have a long road ahead to get there. Despite what the governor says, the program remains flawed. The legislation he signed this week did not fully fix the WA Cares Act.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov