New Poll: 72 percent of Washington voters favor ban on local income taxes

Jan 9, 2020

SEATTLE— New poll results from Washington Policy Center illustrate widespread, bipartisan opposition to local income taxes. In response to the question, “In your opinion, should local governments be allowed to impose an income tax?”  72 percent of Washington voters said “no.”  Opposition to local income taxes was reflected by large majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents.  Even in Seattle, voters opposed a local income tax, though sentiment was split 43 percent yes, 49 percent no.

The results echo the results of Spokane’s Proposition 2, which offered the city’s voters a chance to prohibit the city government from imposing a local income tax.  The income tax ban passed with more than 72 percent of the vote.  The city council of neighboring Spokane Valley unanimously passed a local income tax ban a few week later, followed in December in Granger by the Granger City Council. 

The efforts to ban local income taxes were made more urgent and significant after a July ruling by the state Appeals Court overturned state law banning a local income tax. 

“In an era of partisan division, this is one issue that unites Washington voters,” said Jason Mercier, Director for the Center for Government Reform at Washington Policy Center (WPC). “Washingtonians do not want an income tax and the only people who fail to understand that seem to be some lawmakers in Olympia.”

The statewide poll was conducted among a representative sample of 500 voters statewide and was conducted November 17 – 21, 2019.  Cell phone connections accounted for 63 percent of respondents, while landline connections accounted for 27 percent.  The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

Statewide, voters have said no to ten straight income tax proposals.  An effort to impose an income tax on capital gains died in the Washington State Legislature last year, though proponents, including the income Speaker of the House of Representatives, indicate that it is back “on the table.”

“It’s time to put to rest the idea of introducing income taxes of any kind in Washington,” Mercier said. “Washington’s economic growth is enviable, and our revenues offer stability other states dream of. We have no income tax in Washington and voters clearly want to keep it that way.”

Sign up for the WPC Newsletter