Republicans controlling the state Senate cynically used the urgency to fix an accidental loophole in the estate tax to benefit about 300 wealthy Washingtonians.
Last year’s state Supreme Court ruling in the Bracken case opened up an unintended glitch in the Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) trust, a mechanism used by a small number of rich people to avoid paying the state estate tax.
If the Legislature doesn’t act immediately, the state’s education legacy trust account will get drained by about $160 million in the next biennium. The state will continue to lose about $40 million per year.
Senate Republicans are only agreeing to the fix if estate tax rates are lowered – creating another new tax windfall for the 1 percent, while social services get cut.