"Choose Washington" - no capital gains taxes

BLOG
|
Mar 3, 2015

To help market the state of Washington to potential businesses the Department of Commerce runs a website called "Choose Washington." Under the tab "Why Washington" you can select "Our Strengths." Under that tab you will find a page called "Pro-Business."

Had you visited the "Pro-Business" page a few weeks ago, you would have seen this statement as to why Washington was a good place to locate your business (emphasis added):

We offer businesses some competitive advantages found in few other states. These include no taxes on capital gains or personal or corporate income. We also offer industry-specific tax breaks to spur innovation and growth whenever possible.

Those visiting that same page today, however, will see this text instead:

We offer businesses some competitive advantages found in few other states. This includes no personal or corporate income tax. We also offer industry-specific tax breaks to spur innovation and growth whenever possible.

I asked the Department of Commerce yesterday why it removed the selling point that Washington doesn't have a capital gains tax as an example of it being "Pro-Business." Here is what I was told (in-part): 

Currently there are multiple revenue proposals and tax preferences in play in the Legislature, including capital gains and R&D incentives, for example. You see a normal refresh of online marketing content to reflect that. We think it would be disingenuous not to adjust our marketing messages about tax policy and preferences accordingly.

Based on archived versions of the "Pro-Business" page, the reference to no capital gains taxes as being a plus for businesses in Washington had been on that page from at least 2012 until February 8, 2015.

We should give the Department of Commerce credit for truth in advertising for noting that Washington may no longer offer those thinking about moving their companies to Washington the benefit of being a state without capital gains taxes. That said, lawmakers still have the option to restore this "Pro-Business" selling point by rejecting capital gains taxes and help employers and individuals "Choose Washington."

Additional Information
Are capital gains taxes "secure and stable" or highly volatile?
Should volatile capital gains taxes be relied on to fund the state's "paramount duty"?