House Speaker-Designate: State income tax is on the table

Aug 8, 2019

What a difference a few years makes. Two years ago when the state Senate attempted to send voters a constitutional amendment to court-proof Washington’s competitive advantage of no income taxes, those voting against the proposal called it a “waste of time” claiming there are no efforts to impose an income tax. We of course know this isn’t the case since a capital gains income tax has repeatedly been proposed in the legislature (though not voted on the floor of either body) and Seattle adopted an illegal income tax in 2017 setting up a court case to challenge the constitutional restriction on graduated income taxes.

Now based on a TVW interview yesterday with the new House Speaker-Designate, we also know an income tax will remain on the table in the House. Here are her comments on that:




Here is the full clip from that interview discussing the Seattle income tax case, capital gains income tax proposals and broader income taxes.

As a reminder, the voters have rejected 10 straight income tax proposals, including six proposed constitutional amendments.

While some in Washington consider throwing away the state’s competitive advantage of no income taxes, other non-income tax states are taking the opposite approach by making it harder to ever impose an income tax.

Texas lawmakers this year approved sending voters a constitutional amendment to ban any form of personal income tax in Texas. This follows the lead of Tennessee which also cemented its income tax ban in the state’s constitution in 2014.

Rather than say an income tax is on the table, lawmakers should instead heed the message the voters have already sent and allow the people to vote on a constitutional amendment to make the state’s income tax ban court-proof.

Washingtonians have already spoken loudly and consistently opposing income taxes. At what point will our public servants take no for an answer?