Centralia attorney Peter Abbarno has a degree in tax law, but now mostly works on personal injury and worker compensation claims.
But with lawyers in Washington facing potential tax increases, Abbarno is prepared to argue taxes with state lawmakers.
He plans on testifying against Governor Jay Inslee’s proposal to raise business and occupancy taxes on professional services, including lawyers, accountants, and architects.
Inslee has proposed raising professional taxes one percent, from 1.5 to 2.5 percent. Abbarno said that increase wouldn’t just hurt attorneys.
“It’s going to siphon any money that we traditionally would reinvest in our workforce and our local communities,” said Abbarno.
In addition to the B&O tax increase, Inslee has proposed creating a capital gains tax for the state’s top investment earners, as well as increasing the excise tax on the sale of properties worth more than $1 million.
Nathan Gorton, Government Affairs Director for the Washington Realtors’ Association, said that increase would likely increase rent prices. He said most multi-family and commercial properties now sell for more than $1 million.
Gorton said someone from the association is planning on testifying against the tax increase when lawmakers reconvene in Olympia next week.
Inslee said additional tax revenue is needed to improve schools, the mental health system, and to protect orcas better.
While Republicans have criticized the proposals, Inslee said that doesn’t surprise him and won’t prevent him from trying to get them passed.
Inslee thinks Washingtonians support the ideas.
“Voters voted on what they wanted,” Inslee said Thursday. “They happened to vote for the blue team.”