Sen. Maralyn Chase Newsroom

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    Chase: Family vacations at state parks cancelled without state budget

Chase: Family vacations at state parks cancelled without state budget

OLYMPIASen. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds, issued the following statement four days ahead of a state government shutdown and after more than 11,000 state park reservation, cancellation notices were sent out last week:

“Summertime in Washington’s state parks is the busiest time of the year. Thousands of families have planned, sometimes months in advance, to reserve space in our state parks for weddings, family reunions, and vacations. Without a state budget by July 1, those plans could have been all for naught as our state parks will be closed. Senate Republicans are unnecessarily causing thousands of families stress and anxiety as they scramble to find a backup plan.

“With over 30 million visitors to our state parks annually, their visits contribute more than $1.4 billion to the state’s economy and $64 million in state general fund tax receipts. The tourism industry in our state relies on state parks and public lands to provide jobs, especially in small, rural towns. A state government shutdown and subsequent closure of state parks could have devastating short and long-term impacts to local economies relying on tourism. A recent report itemized out the fiscal impact on the local economies in all 49 legislative districts. The potential revenue loss in each district for recreation, in state park lands alone, is staggering.

“With four days ahead of a state government shutdown, there is still time to adopt a two-year budget. Washington’s families with reservations at our state parks are counting on us to not ruin their Fourth of July.”

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June 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Impacts of a state government shutdown would be damaging

Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds, issued the following statement seven days ahead of the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30:

“With July 1 right around the corner, the state legislature appears to be unable to perform its legal obligation of passing a two-year budget. If the state legislature cannot agree upon a budget by the said date, the government will shut down, furloughing tens of thousands of public employees across the state. In fact, most of the layoff notices have already gone out. Our state workers provide for their families, serve their communities, and contribute to their local economy with their government jobs and salary. Thus, a state government shutdown affects not only the individual, but endangers the health of the state’s communities and economies.

“A state government shutdown will not only cut crucial services to each legislative district, but hinder all the local economies. Furloughing our government workers could lead to the suspension of the delivery of vital services to citizens, and delay the construction of capital projects. The employees who perform these duties provide for their families and contribute to their local economy with their salaries. A state government shutdown could halt or potentially cripple economic activity statewide.

“As we approach the fiscal cutoff, I believe it is important to look at the number of government employees in each of the legislative districts. These are the state workers who will not be able to reliably put food on the table, pay rent, or have access to their health care.

“Allowing our state to go over the fiscal cliff without an operating budget and furloughing thousands of state workers from their jobs without pay because the legislature is unable to do its job is immoral.”

 

 

June 23rd, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Chase: “This matters now; reliance on property tax perpetuates the pain of unfair tax system”

Chase: “This matters now; reliance on property tax perpetuates the pain of unfair tax system”

OLYMPIA – Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds, is working on a set of bills focused on limits to the state’s property tax rates and removing the tax exemptions on intangible property, like stocks and bonds.

“These bills show that there are additional sources of revenue out there that we haven’t even begun to consider,” said Chase. “We need to have a real conversation about our state’s unfair tax system. To have a multi-billion dollar property tax hike pushed through the legislative process at the last possible second by the Senate Republicans is no way to govern. The Senate Republican plan to increase property taxes to fund our schools is irresponsible. We already know that our state is dead last in the nation when it comes to our tax structure, so why would we even consider placing the majority of the tax burden on our low-income and working families with an increase in property tax?”

Chase’s slate of bills include:

  • Senate Bill 5948, Restoring intangible property taxation;
  • Senate Bill 5959, Establishing a capital gains tax;
  • Senate Bill 5960, Taxing intangible personal property;
  • Senate Bill 5961, Changing the business and occupation tax from a gross receipts tax to a net receipts tax; and,
  • Senate Bill 5962, Lowering the property tax levy limit from one percent to zero to prohibit certain annual property tax increases.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has consistently ranked Washington state as having the most upside down tax system in the United States. This means that the lowest 60 percent of earners pay the highest percentage of their income in overall taxes. How did our state develop this unfair tax system? Over time, the legislature has allowed exemptions of certain types of property, by removing some property from the tax base, and from confusing types of tax procedures. For example:

  1. Property taxation:
    1. The State of Washington taxes all property unless the Legislature or the State Constitution specifically exempts the property. (Currently stocks and bonds are exempted by the Legislature but there are many more examples of these exemptions such as, churches, non-profits, etc. are exempted by the Constitution.)
  2. Tax Shifts:
    1. An exemption means some owners of property are not required to pay property taxes, which results in a tax shift to people who do not have an exemption.
    2. The Legislature has created two classes of people: people who pay property tax and people who do not pay property tax.
    3. This has been accomplished by simply removing some property from the tax base.

All taxpayers are permitted to own property but the Legislature is not always going to tax it: Taxpayers can buy all the stocks and bonds and other intangible property they want: it will no longer be taxed as called for in the State Constitution, Article 7, Section 1: Taxation

  1. When the Legislature repeals the intangible property tax exemption, the total property value in the tax base increases causing the property tax rate to decrease. This shifts taxes back to the exempt property owner causing other taxpayers to pay less but usually results in no potential revenue gains for the state. This is a more equitable model for taxpayers.

“This debate matters right now,” said Chase. “Our state has an opportunity to not only make our tax system fairer, but also pay for our kid’s education as is our state’s paramount duty. The people who don’t currently have a property tax exemption should not have to shoulder the tax burden for the entire state. We would not be making progress if that’s the only option we are presented.”

June 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|

More than property tax…

Sen. Chase

June 20, 2017

Dear friends and neighbors,

 Sen. Maralyn Chase

Contact:

Email: Maralyn.Chase@leg.wa.gov

Phone: 360-786-7662

Legislative Hotline: 800-562-6000

 Committees:

Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development

(Ranking Member)

Rules

Tomorrow marks the end of the second 30-day special legislative session. We are quickly running out of time. If the legislature does not have an operating budget by the end of June 30, the end of the state’s fiscal year, state government will shut down. The Senate Republican Majority needs to stop obstructing the operating budget process and come to the negotiating table.  

The people of Washington state have a right to know that there are other sources of revenue in our state than increases in property taxes, sales taxes or utility taxes to pay for constitutionally mandated government activities.

Senate Bill 5948 – Proposes to repeal the 1997 tax exemptions (SB 5286) in which the state legislature removed intangible property (stocks and bonds, etc.) from our state property tax base. Currently, our state taxes tangible property, (family homes), at a rate of 1% per year. By contrast, thanks to the 1997 tax break, intangible property, such as stocks and bonds, are not taxed at all.

Currently, if a person were to invest $300,000 in stocks and bonds, they would not be taxed on that investment in intangible property. However, if the same person were to use that $300,000 to purchase a home worth say $500,000, on which they would owe $200,000, they would pay tangible property tax on their $300,000 equity in the home and on the $200,000 in home value owned by the bank. How is that fair?

Repealing the tax exemption for intangible property would create a more just and fair system of taxation in our state. If we increase the size of the taxable base by putting the intangible property back into play, the taxes on wealthy people and people of modest means will be computed by the value of their property in the tax base. A larger tax base spreads the burden across all property as intended in the Washington State Constitution, Article VII, Section 1. TAXATION.            

Washington state is a progressive state in many areas, however, tax policy is not one of them. We rank dead last in the nation.

I am proud to introduce this bill and several others identifying most of the additional options the legislature has to pay for the mandates required by the Constitution. A statewide property tax should not be the only source of revenue we seriously examine.

Best regards,

asd 

June 20th, 2017|E-News|
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    Chase introduces the Healthy Washington Program, legislation creating universal single-payer health care

Chase introduces the Healthy Washington Program, legislation creating universal single-payer health care

Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds, on Wednesday introduced legislation that will create a universal single-payer healthcare program in the State of Washington. Senate Bill 5957, modeled after California’s successful Senate Bill 562, will create the Healthy Washington Program that will be open to all Washington residents.

“Access to health care is a fundamental basic right,” said Chase. “With the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act, the people of Washington need to know that we have a backup option for health care in our state. This bill will allow the people to take control of their health care through the implementation of a statewide single-payer system. We have too many people living in terror of getting sick and not being able to afford it.”

The Healthy Washington Program will be open to all residents, and will obtain waivers for Medicaid, Medicare, the Exchange, Affordable Care Act programs, and other relevant federal programs. Enrollees in the program will not be required to pay a premium, copayment, coinsurance, deductible or other cost sharing. Under the bill, all licensed healthcare providers may participate and all members shall have a care coordinator. Health plans outside the Healthy Washington Program are prohibited from offering coverage for any service covered by the program. The federal funds and subsidies will be paid to the Healthy Washington Trust.

The Healthy Washington Board will govern the program, will apply for all necessary waivers, and will negotiate rates with providers. The board will have nine members appointed by the governor, two members each appointed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the Director of the Health Care Authority. The board will adopt payment methodologies and ensure that all payments are reasonable and related to the cost of services. The board will also negotiate for the payment of prescription drugs.

“People going into severe debt because of medical costs should not be the norm,” said Chase. “Medical debt is the number one reason for filing for bankruptcy in the United States. There is more that we must do to move access to affordable health care forward in our state and in our country.”

In this stage, the Healthy Washington program does not have a dedicated revenue source; however, under the bill the legislature is tasked with developing a plan with all future revenue to be deposited in the Healthy Washington Trust Fund.

The policies introduced in Senate Bill 5957 will take effect when the Healthy Washington Board indicates there is enough revenue in the fund to fully implement the provisions in the act.

June 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Chase: “Washington state robbing kids of most important rite of passage”

Chase: “Washington state robbing kids of most important rite of passage”

OLYMPIA Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds, issued the following statement as more than 15,000 high school seniors will fail to graduate because of not passing one or more statewide high stakes tests:

“While budget negotiators in Olympia continue to receive 30-day extensions to complete their work; more than 15,000 high school seniors in our state are simply out of time. For many, graduation day has already come and gone. There is no going back.

“When did petty political gamesmanship become more important than truly making a difference for thousands of young Washingtonians? Our state cannot rob our kids of one of the most important rites of passage.

“For 81 percent of our state’s public high school graduating seniors, high stakes testing is not an issue. These students passed all three state required tests for graduation: English Language Arts, Math, and Biology. However, for the 15,645 students that failed one or more of these tests, this is an issue. Particularly, special education students, English language learners, low-income, and students of color are disproportionately impacted by the requirement to pass high stakes tests to graduate. Over 10 years of high stakes testing research and experience in our state shows that instead of positive outcomes, we have an achievement gap that grows wider each year. The state does not require private schools to administer these tests as a requirement for graduation.

“The House of Representatives has voted on a bipartisan bill to completely delink high stakes test results from graduation requirements three times this year. Unfortunately, when it is the Senate Republican Majority’s turn to act they push for only delinking the biology exam, thereby ignoring the bulk of the students who are penalized by these tests.  I view this lack of action as a failure of leadership and of governance.

“One of my young constituents contacted me with a desperate plea after failing the English exam by one point. Only one point stands between this student and their high school diploma. High school graduation is the touchpoint by which you measure your life. We ought to show our high school seniors that state government can be an instrument of good and change lives for the better.

“The quality of our students’ education is more important than test results. Scholars and researchers recognize that the Smarter Balanced assessments were not designed to assess whether a student should be advanced to another grade level or if a student has demonstrated the competencies to graduate from high school. In short, by continuing to require passage of all three high stakes tests we are perpetuating a highly flawed system.

“Washington state is currently on the wrong side of history on this issue, as one of thirteen states, down from 27, across the United States with high stakes tests in place for the graduating class of 2017. Increasingly, offices of college admissions recognize that a student’s high school record is a more accurate prediction of success in higher education than a standardized test. By making standardized tests optional at the college level, schools are able to obtain more diversity without any loss in academic quality. It is a ‘win-win’ for both students and schools.

“I believe that our students should be accountable for their education; however, that accountability must not rob them of their future, or one of life’s precious milestones. These kids’ hearts are breaking.”

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For more information, interviews: Nicole Vukonich, Communications, 360-786-7326

 

 

 

June 6th, 2017|Uncategorized|

This is about education

May 8, 2017

Subject: This is about education

Dear friends and neighbors,

I stand with the 117 superintendents in the state who remain committed and available to assisting with and moving the K-12 education negotiation process forward to a successful resolution. Our superintendents and educators are on the front lines of education and are charged with leading the public schools in our local communities. They possess the experience, expertise and insights that will help shape the best possible outcomes for our communities and the children, families and staff they serve.

In recent letters to the legislature, the governor and stakeholders, the superintendents outlined their concerns with the main challenges of the McCleary decision and the legislature’s paramount duty to amply and fully fund education in our state. As the operating budget process continues, they hope the legislature will address the following issues:

Collective Bargaining – We are unanimous in our stance that collective bargaining must be reformed.  At a minimum, “guardrails” or “bumpers” must be in place that prohibit bargaining of local levy resources for basic education duties and responsibilities. Without reform of collective bargaining – particularly around use of local levy resources – we are strongly concerned that a significant new investment of State resources will not produce the outcomes and program improvements the Legislature intends. We are further concerned that absent a reform of collective bargaining as it currently exists, a regression to the current unconstitutional funding system at some point in the future is a certainty.

Salary Schedule and Salary Allocation Model – We support continuation of a state salary schedule and allocation model to assure consistency, uniformity and equity across our region and state. We are open to proposals that would simplify the current model with fewer educational, certification and/or experience steps; however, the state salary schedule is a basis for local salary schedules across our region, and eliminating it altogether would present a significant challenge for each district to create and negotiate individually.

TRII and Supplemental Pay – We strongly support clear and specific limitations on the use of local levy resources for compensated time outside of the 180-day student year or for duties and responsibilities that are clearly distinguishable from those routinely expected of any teacher.

Allocation and Funding Model – We support a structure that allocates resources primarily utilizing the prototypical school model as an objective, research-based approach to generating funding for staff positions. Such a model can be periodically reviewed and modified over time to meet changing needs. We are open to a per pupil funding model that is grounded in the prototypical funding model and does not supplant state funding with federal or local resources.

Health Benefits – We support a transition to a statewide health benefits program for K-12 employees. Such a transition must thoughtfully account for any increased district costs, including the potential for a sizeable increase in benefit-eligible employees.

Salary Increments for Teachers – We support continued salary increments for advanced degrees and years of experience. We also support continued salary recognition for teachers who obtain National Board Certification. We do not support bonus or merit systems and view them as both inherently unreliable to administer and destructive to building and sustaining a collaborative district and school culture that best serves all children.

Professional Development – Recognizing the need and value of ongoing learning and growth, we support 10 days annually of professional development outside the 180-day school year with local flexibility to schedule some or all of the equivalent professional development time within the 180-day school year (e.g. extended work days, Saturdays, evenings, etc.) as a component of basic education.

Cost of Living Adjustments – We support regular cost of living adjustments as a component of basic education to assure that salaries remain competitive to attract and retain a high-quality workforce.

Regionalization or Poverty Factors – We recognize the unique challenges of attracting and retaining staff members to high cost, remote and/or high poverty districts and support a salary allocation model that provides additional incentives to attract and retain high-quality staff in communities so impacted.

Beginning Teacher Pay – We support a significant increase in the minimum salary for beginning teachers to at least $45,000 annually to appropriately recognize a comparable market value for beginning teacher pay and to attract a larger pool of high-quality candidates to the teaching profession.

Expenditure Limitation for Salary and Benefits – We have limited support for an imposed or fixed percentage of district expenditures for salaries and benefits. We see this as potentially unworkable on a statewide level and non-responsive to the unique and varied circumstances and expenditure drivers across school districts. If a percentage is imposed, it should be at least 85% of district expenditures.

Grandfathered Levies and Salaries – Given a sufficient infusion of state resources to fully and amply fund basic education and competitive, market-rate salaries, we support the elimination of grandfathered levy lids and salary allocations – subject to the “hold harmless” provision below – if not immediately, then over no longer than a 2-3 year period.

Hold Harmless During Transition – As the Legislature implements a program of full and ample basic education funding through a negotiated compromise of the proposals thus far introduced in the legislative session – or new ideas not yet under public consideration – we strongly support a “hold harmless” provision for any districts detrimentally impacted under the new funding structure ultimately adopted until such time as the funding model “catches up” to those districts’ current funding levels.

Local Levy Lid – In an environment of full and ample funding of basic education, we believe the current levy lid would no longer be necessary to support local enhancements. Provided a consistent and ongoing State commitment to maintain full and ample funding of basic education and sufficient “guardrails” to assure that local levy funds only support locally determined enhancements to basic education, we believe a lower local levy lid of 10-20% of combined state and federal funding is supportable.

Fund Accounting/Audit Standards – While we fully support the assurance that local levy resources do not fund basic education, especially compensation, we do not support overly burdensome requirements that will significantly increase operational and audit expenses. We strongly oppose separate accounting for state, federal and local revenues and expenditures and/or compliance determination through annual State audits.  We support tasking the best school district finance minds with developing reasonable and workable solutions to provide the assurance and separation of state and local funding we all desire.

Local Effort Assistance – In the transitional phase to a new funding structure, we support continuation of Local Effort Assistance as an important means of assuring equity of enhancement opportunities across districts. We can provide qualified support for elimination of local effort assistance conditioned on a full, ample and consistently funded program of basic education.

 “Levy Swap” – We do not support re-purposing current local levy capacity to fund the State’s basic education obligation.

The superintendents also write:

“We urge immediate, serious and urgent negotiations towards a final compromise plan that meets the affirmative constitutional right of every Washington child to a fully funded basic education. In the absence of such a final compromise plan, our districts are unable to meet critical dates in developing plans to achieve our primary mission of educating all children. Most importantly, every day of delay is another day in which our State’s children are further denied their most basic constitutional right to an equitable and amply funded education.”

I share the concerns of our Educational Service Districts and the coalition of Washington Education Associations including school boards and principles. I am working with my colleagues to find a compromise solution that benefits our 1.1 million public school students and our educators.

Best regards,

May 8th, 2017|E-News|

It’s time to negotiate: An Olympia update

Dear friends and neighbors,

The Washington State Constitution states that the legislature shall meet for 60 days in even numbered years, and for 105 days in odd-numbered years. Well friends, 105 days have unfortunately come and gone without the adoption of a 2017-19 operating budget or a resolution to how we will fairly and amply fund K-12 education in our state. This means that the governor has called the Legislature back into special session to finish the work we came here to do.

Still no budget agreement – it’s time to come to the table and negotiate

As it stands right now, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed their budgets. Now is the time when budget leaders from all four caucuses would normally come together to negotiate the final, go-home budget. So far, Republicans in the House and Senate have refused to come to the negotiating table. Refusing to negotiate is not the way we will reach a compromise budget agreement. It is time to put the kids and people of Washington first.

In my opinion, at the center of this debate is 1) the issue of whether to raise taxes or not,  2) the fundamentally different visions of what a successful society looks like,  and 3) how we ultimately get there.

The Senate Republican plan relies on a $5.6 billion property tax that would affect every household in the state and provides millions in tax cuts to wealthy individuals and corporations. On the other hand, Democrats in the House of Representatives propose to make our tax system more fair by adopting a capital gains tax on the top one percent, reform our business and occupation tax, the real estate excise tax, and close a number of tax exemptions. At this point, negotiations are critical to advancing the operating budget process, which I hope will finally begin in good-faith.

Friday’s capital gains tax vote and what it really means

MC

Our state has a broken tax system and I am disheartened to see the issue brought before the Senate for purely political motives. On Friday, two tax measures came to a vote before the Senate, capital gains tax and reform of the business and occupation tax. Both of these proposals failed 0-48. 

In my time in the Legislature I have never seen a bill brought to the floor that received not a single vote in favor of its passage. It was a political stunt. This is not governing; it is a dramatic denial of our responsibilities and duties to the people who elected us.   

I am fully in favor of progressive tax reform and will be the first to vote for it when an honest proposal is offered. Please don’t believe that there isn’t support for progressive taxes in our state – there is. I voted against this stunt because it was not a genuine strategy to fund our schools. Senate Republicans chose our last moments on the floor on Friday to pull this childish stunt and I do not support that kind of behavior.

Unfinished business: Saving the Public Works Trust Fund

We have not yet managed to save the Public Works Trust Fund from being swept again for the operating budget.  They are sweeping this trust fund at a time when our state desperately needs the funds for repair and development of the vital infrastructure necessary for our economy to continue growing.  This trust was capitalized by community ratepayers with a small amount added to our utility bills  to ensure that low-interest-rate funding would be available for clean water, bridges, waste water systems, safe roads and the like.   The account provides our local governments with the capital to reinvest in our public infrastructure.

The alternative to the Public Works Trust Fund’s revolving loan fund is  debt financing in the bond market with higher interest rates, fewer projects in our communities, and much higher price tags for infrastructure repair, maintenance and replacement. Debt service is paid to Wall Street instead of being returned to the Public Works Account to be loaned out again in our communities.

This is bad financial management. If you were to purchase a car or house tomorrow your financial planner would never tell you to choose a higher interest rate and jeopardize the rest of your family’s finances. Building public infrastructure is no different!

 PWTF

Best regards,

asd

P.S. The distracted driving bill has been delivered to the governor for his signature. Please take care out there and remember to put your phone away while you’re driving. I want to save you from a large fine while also keeping you and our roads safe.

April 25th, 2017|E-News|
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    Education, Fircrest, and a Tax Fact: A Legislative Update from Sen. Maralyn Chase

Education, Fircrest, and a Tax Fact: A Legislative Update from Sen. Maralyn Chase

Sen. Chase

Dear friends and neighbors,

Sen. Maralyn Chase

Contact:

Email: Maralyn.Chase@leg.wa.gov

Phone: 360-786-7662

Legislative Hotline: 800-562-6000

Committees:

Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development

(Ranking Member)

Rules

Yesterday marked the passing of yet another legislative hurdle – the deadline to pass bills from the House of Representatives. With the regular session scheduled to end in about 10 days, there remains many legislative issues to be resolved before we are finished.

RG

I would like to introduce you to my new legislative aide, Remy Golla. He most recently served as my session aide and I am very pleased that he has taken on this new position. Remy is from Lynnwood and knows our district very well. Please join me in welcoming him to the new role!

An update on Fircrest School

The Fircrest School located in our district offers an incredibly important space for about 200 people with developmental disabilities to live in a safe, residential setting. Regrettably, nearly every budget cycle over the last few years has attempted to close the state-run facility. This year is no exception. So far, those of us who strongly oppose closing Fircrest have stopped the bill from coming to a vote on the Senate Floor. The Senate Republican operating budget relies on the closing of Fircrest and the sale of the land to balance their budget.

I do not believe that a budget that balances on a real estate grab and on the backs of the most disabled in our community is moral. I will continue to fight to keep Fircrest open for those in our community who call it home.

An update on where we are in amply funding K-12 educationclassroom

At this point, both the House and the Senate have passed their versions of the operating budget and have laid out their plans for funding education. These plans are very different. The Senate plan relies on funding education by eliminating funding for critical programs that help our most vulnerable people including those who are homeless, living with a disability, or those living on a fixed income. In contrast, the House plan supports our most vulnerable and amply funding education. They do this by raising revenue in a way that does not place the tax burdens solely on our low-income and middle class families. I am hopeful that both chambers will come to an agreement on how to amply fund our kids without decimating our essential human services programs.

 WAtax

Tax Fact: Did you know that of the taxes collected statewide, 60 percent of Washington’s working families pay a majority of the taxes? This tells me that it isn’t about whether you live in an urban or rural area, on the eastern side of the state or the west – we have a broken tax system that needs to be updated. Have you seen the most recent episode of Tax Talk? Click here to watch the video. (Image source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy)

Best regards,

asd

April 13th, 2017|E-News|
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    Tax Talk with Sen. Maralyn Chase – Video 2: Tax Exemptions

Tax Talk with Sen. Maralyn Chase – Video 2: Tax Exemptions

In this episode of Tax Talk with Sen. Maralyn Chase, she introduces the concept of tax exemptions in Washington State.

April 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|