WA Long-Term Care Tax to be Challenged in Federal Court
A few years ago, in 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed (and Gov. Inslee signed into law) the Long Term Care Tax, or the WA Cares Act.
Federal law prohibits states from passing any bills or laws that force workers to be part of a plan that provides illness or medical benefits.
WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE PLAN?
According to supporters, using the excuse that Washington state's population was steadily aging, there was/is a lack of long-term care coverage options. They claimed many people could not afford them. So, Democratic legislators managed to push it through. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports the bill's supporters claim 90 percent of persons in our state over the age of 65 don't have long-term care insurance.
But it didn't go into effect until 2022. That's why everyone is hearing about it now. The now-expired Nov. 1 opt-out deadline has passed, but the measure might not make it at all.
According to multiple sources, and court papers, a lawsuit has been filed in Federal Court in Western Washington this week. The law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine filed it in the Federal Western District of WA.
WHO ARE THE PLAINTIFFS?
The class-action lawsuit contains three businesses and six individual citizens and is on behalf of anyone who didn't qualify for the exemption.
The lead attorney in the case, Richard Birmingham, released a statement that read in part:
"This Act is extremely unpopular and for good reason. In addition to placing unfair burdens on both employers and employees, the Act is clearly unlawful. We are urging the court to declare the Act void and unenforceable and, after such declaration, to stop employee contributions to WA Cares."
The WA Cares act would deduct, based upon the average salary of a WA worker, just over $328 annually from their pay.
Birmingham counters the supporting arguments by saying Federal law prohibits states from passing any bills or laws that force workers to be part of a plan that provides illness or medical benefits.
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