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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I wanted to bring your attention to an important date that could affect your wallet: July 1st. That’s when most workers in Washington, including part-time and temporary workers, will begin to pay up to 58 cents on every $100 of their earnings for the WA Cares Fund – a new state-run, long-term care insurance program. If you make $75,000 a year, for example, this new tax will cost you $435 annually or $36.25 monthly.

You can use our calculator to figure out exactly how much will be deducted from your paycheck by clicking here.

If you purchased a qualifying, private long-term care insurance plan by November 1, 2021, and applied for a permanent exemption from the WA Cares Fund, you are not subject to the new payroll tax. The deadline for applying for this exemption was December 31, 2022. While many people took advantage of this option, many others couldn’t find a private plan in time, and many others didn’t even know about this new payroll tax.

The deadline to apply for an exemption is tomorrow, June 1. People still eligible to opt-out include:

  • Workers who are veterans with a 70% service-connected disability rating or higher.
  • Workers who are a spouse or domestic partner of an active-duty U.S. armed forces member.
  • Workers who work in Washington but live out of state.
  • Workers who have a temporary nonimmigrant visa like a H-2A or H-1B visa.

You can learn more about applying for an exemption here: WACaresfund.wa.gov/private-insurance

Background: You may be wondering why Washington is the only state to have its own long-term care insurance program and payroll tax. In 2019, without a single House Republican vote, the Legislature passed House Bill 1087 and Governor Jay Inslee signed it into law on May 13. This new program was, and still is, unpopular, unfair, and inadequate.

Unpopular: In 2019, nearly 63% of Washington voters said the long-term care payroll tax should be repealed in Advisory Vote No. 20.  The majority party ignored this clear message from voters during the four legislative sessions since the vote took place. Instead of listening to voters, they repealed advisory votes altogether in 2023 with the passage of Senate Bill 5082.

Unfair: Someone could pay into the system for the duration of his or her career and never get to use the benefit. If you decide to move to another state to retire, you will not be able to receive the benefit.

Inadequate: The limited $36,500 benefit, not available until July 2026, only covers a few months of long-term care and may give people a false sense of security.

For these reasons, and more, I co-sponsored House Bill 1011 to repeal the long-term care program and payroll tax. The majority party did not even give the bill a hearing.

Promoted to assistant ranking Republican on Appropriations Committee

In other news, I was recently promoted to assistant ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee. This important, 31-member committee crafts the state’s operating budget and works on related bills including pension policy and compensation.

I am truly honored to have been appointed by House Republican leadership to this new position where I will continue to fight for responsible budgets and tax relief for working families.

My other committee assignments include the House Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning Committee, where I will continue to serve as the assistant ranking member, and the House Education Committee.

Thank you!

Whether we’re in session, special session, or the interim, I work for you year-round. Please contact my office with your questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions. I am here to listen to and represent you in Olympia.

It’s an honor to serve you!  

Sincerely,


Travis Couture

State Representative Travis Couture, 35th Legislative District
representativetraviscouture.com
404 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
travis.couture@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7902 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000