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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope this email finds you well! Happy 4th of July!

Long-term care payroll tax goes into effect as of July 1, 2023

I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the new payroll tax that began on July 1. You will start seeing deductions on your paycheck this month.

On July 1, Washington state will become the first state in the nation to deduct taxes from workers’ paychecks to support a new state-operated long-term care insurance program. For those who are eligible, the WA Cares Program will provide up to $36,500 for nursing care and other services.

Most Washington workers, including part-time and temporary workers, will pay $0.58 per $100 of their earnings toward the WA Cares fund.

Here’s a bit of context for you. If you make:

  • $50,000 a year, it will cost you $290 annually or $24.17 monthly.
  • $75,000 a year, it will cost you $435 annually or $36.25 monthly.
  • $100,000 a year, it will cost you $580 annually or $48.33 monthly.
  • $125,000 a year, it will cost you $725 annually or $60.42 monthly.

You are not subject to the new payroll tax 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.

(Note: the deadline for applying for this exemption was December 31, 2022. While many Washingtonians chose this option, many others could not find a private plan in time.)

By way of context, the Legislature approved House Bill 1087, the Long-Term Care Act, in 2019. Advisory Vote No. 20 showed the unpopularity of this program, with 63% of voters saying the long-term payroll tax should be repealed.

While I understand the good intentions behind this program, I believe it’s wrong to lock residents into a state-run program with no way to opt out. With current high inflation rates, and the cost of living continuing to rise, this payroll tax will be another financial burden for those who live paycheck to paycheck. Another issue with this program is, as a taxpayer, you will pay into this system for years and may never receive the benefits- including if you move out of state.

This program has many flaws, its financial projections demonstrate it is not fully funded, and does not allow the private market to enter and compete – which could drive down costs and premiums. 

House Republicans proposed an alternative to create a solvent and competitive program, which I co-sponsored, but that proposal was rejected by the majority.  When efforts to amend the program failed, we did try to repeal it. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful, and this program began this week. 

While I believe folks should prepare for their future long-term care needs, implementing an underfunded and flawed program is not the responsible solution.

You can learn more about this program, our efforts to repeal it, and a calculator to see what your tax contribution could be by clicking here.

Resources and useful links

I encourage you to bookmark the links below and share them with your friends and family.

Even though the session has ended for the year, I’m your state representative year-round. Please continue to reach out to my office with your questions, to schedule a meeting, or anything you need. My contact information can be found at the bottom of this email.

I look forward to seeing everyone around the great 31st District!

It’s an honor to serve you.

In your service,

Eric Robertson

State Representative Eric Robertson, 31st Legislative District
465 John L. O’Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7866 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000