Politics & Government

U.S. House vote extends state sales-tax deduction for 2014 IRS returns

Washington state’s congressional delegation voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of a package of about 50 federal tax break extensions that includes a one-year continuation of the federal income-tax deduction for sales taxes.

“It means a nearly a half-billion dollars injected into our state’s economy. That translates somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 jobs created,” Democratic Rep. Denny Heck of Olympia said in a telephone interview before the 378-46 vote. “It’s on average about $550 in the pockets of the people who itemize.”

Roughly a third of state taxpayers itemize their tax deductions and would qualify based on past practice, Heck added.

Heck said he wants to see the sales-tax deduction made permanent, a position also championed by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., earlier this year when the measure was voted on in that chamber’s finance committee.

Support for the sales-tax deduction piece runs deep and crosses any partisan line in the Evergreen State, where the state share of the sales tax is 6.5 percent. Total sales tax rates can get close to 10 percent once local add-on taxes are included in higher-taxed areas such as King County.

Washington is one of seven states that lack personal income taxes, which are deductible on federal returns.