Gov. Inslee touts ranking showing no income tax is good for Washington

June 11, 2014

Governor Jay Inslee today praised a national ranking by Forbes that shows Washington state is the best state in which to make a living.  The ranking lists “no income tax” as one of the primary reasons for Washington’s high standing.

State leaders have noted the economic benefit of having no state income before.  Last year House Democrats delighted in a ranking by listing Seattle as the #2 start up city in the country.  One of the measures used in rating a favorable start up environment was Washington lack of a state income tax.

Officials at the state Department of Commerce advertise the economic edge having no income tax or capital gains tax gives Washingtonians, noting:

"We offer businesses some competitive advantages found in few other states.  These include no taxes on capital gains or personal or corporate income."

Voters agree.  The people overcame a class-envy, tax-the-rich income tax initiative in 2010, sending I-1098 down to defeat by a margin of nearly two-to-one ("Income Tax Loses Big," The Seattle Times, Nov. 2, 2010).

These consistently positive economic rankings, and its equally consistent unpopularity, do not mean all lawmakers have given up on promoting a state income tax.  Rep. Marko Liias (D-Mukilteo) introduced an income tax bill, HB 1545, this year, and garnered 16 cosponsors all from one party.

Still, broad opposition to a state income tax appears to be holding, with Governor Inslee and many lawmakers pointing to national rankings boosted by our state’s policy of not taxing people’s income.  The wide recognition shows having no income tax in Washington is clearly in the public interest.  It’s good for our economy, encourages investment and job-creation, and contributes to the general common good in our state.