B&O taxes on physicians
B&O taxes on physicians




As we look at our voter's ballots we see HB 2158 is embedded in an Advisory Vote No. 24. The ballot options appear to be simple, "Maintain" or "Repeal".  It's not simple at all. As you know, Advisory Votes are created when the Legislature passes a bill that increases state revenue. 
In their last session, the Legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 2158 to increase funding for higher education by increasing the B&O tax of “service industries” and that includes solo medical practitioners. King County Medical Society’s President, Dr. Teresa Girolami recently presented a resolution to the WSMA requesting that this increased taxation on solo practitioners be amended. This resolution passed at the WSMA Annual Meeting and KCMS is busy asking lawmakers to revise HB 2158 to exclude solo practitioners.
To be clear, employed physicians at large organizations do not incur this increased B&O tax expense, nor does their organization.

By increasing the B&O tax on solo practitioners, legislators are voting to make access to healthcare more difficult for many in Washington state, especially those patients on Medicaid and who live in rural areas. Solo practitioners are already finding themselves in a position where they must turn away Medicaid patients because they cannot afford to see them. These patients are from some of our most vulnerable populations.
Until the Workforce Education Investment Act (HB 2158)  is amended to exclude solo practitioner physicians from this increased B&O tax, KCMS board members are not voting for the Act to be maintained.
The Society appreciates that the Act was originally designed so that businesses that benefit the most from a highly-educated workforce will contribute to the cost of higher education -BUT- what legislators did not realize when crafting and approving this bill are the significant adverse impacts on access to healthcare for the populations that often need the care the most. The Society's President and incoming President will vote  "Repeal” on Advisory Vote No. 24.

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