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BP Blast: Impact of Washington Election Results for Local Businesses


While the election results are not yet certified, there has been speculation about what the preliminary results may mean for area businesses. Below are post-election considerations for business owners as you plan for 2020.

In the most recent King County election, there were 12 advisory votes on the ballot allowing voters the option to maintain or repeal 2019 tax legislation. However, these results are non-binding and do not repeal these laws. The advisory votes originated from a 2007 ballot measure from initiative-filer Tim Eyman. In press interviews, Eyman’s stated intent with the advisory votes is to inform voters of the tax measures taken by the legislature in the last year. However, in practice they are often confusing to voters since they are non-binding and do not contain details of the underlying legislation or its impact on revenues and spending.

The bottom line for business owners is that increased taxes such as the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) and the Service B&O surcharge to fund workforce education will still take effect January 1, 2020 – despite voters advising the legislature to repeal these measures. Additional information on these tax changes can be found in our previous blast.

Also noteworthy is that Tim Eyman’s initiative 976 is projected to pass. This measure reduces the annual car tab fee to $30 by repealing city authority to charge car tab fees for local transportation projects and rolling back fees used by Sound Transit. In response, the Governor’s office has put a hold on upcoming transportation spending due to the anticipated budget losses. This could impact contractors and real estate developers, specifically, as these transportation projects may get delayed or cancelled. However, news sources indicate there may be litigation on this issue, so the ultimate impact is still unknown. BP will be following the status of initiative 976, so check our website for the most up to date information.

For complete King County election results, click here. If you have questions about how these results may impact you or your business, contact your Berntson Porter representative at 425-454-7990. We’re here to help!


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