You can’t say they’re not getting cleverer (alternate phrase: devious). A bevy of far left groups, backed by liberal deep pocket Nick Hanauer, filed two possible initiatives with the final aim of a state income tax. This time, though, it would be a two-step process.
The groups, the Seattle Times reports, are “mulling an initiative that would command the Legislature to ‘balance the state tax code’ by 2020 so wealthy people pay the same share of their income in taxes as middle-class and poor residents. Drafts of the initiative filed with Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office do not specify how legislators should accomplish the task.”
A big shift in tactics
The left has been completely unsuccessful convincing voters to enact a state income tax. The last attempt, a “high-earners” tax initiative in 2010, took a thumping, with 64.15% voting no.
But the liberals have learned their lesson, it seems. They accept that voters will never pass a straight-up income tax, so they’re trying this more convoluted approach instead. Rather than ask voters to affirm an income tax, they’re cleverly asking voters to affirm that they’re paying too much in state taxes.
And who wouldn’t agree with that?
If voters pass such an initiative, it would then be up to legislators to change the state tax system (or with a 2/3 vote they could suspend or repeal the initiative). Lawmakers would be charged with instituting a system where citizens at different income levels are shelling out similar percentages in state taxes.
Gosh, what will they come up with to do that – maybe an income tax?
Not necessarily about an income…they must think we’re dumb
Initiative backers argue that passing the initiative wouldn’t necessarily mean legislators would have to pass an income tax. The Times reports:
But Zach Silk, president of Civic Ventures, Hanauer’s political outfit, said the potential initiative does not promote a state income tax or any other particular solution. For example, lawmakers could focus more on lowering taxes for the poor as opposed to imposing higher taxes on the rich.
“We don’t want to prescribe how to fix this,” Silk said. “We want to open up a responsible conversation about the upside-down nature of the tax code.”
The idea that Hanauer, Fuse Washington, SEIU and the Progress Alliance might be OK with a solution that would actually lower state tax revenues qualifies Silk’s statement as the most disingenuous we’ve seen this year.
If you believe Silk that their initiative isn’t necessarily about a state income tax, we’re not even going with a light-hearted “we’ve got a bridge to sell you” approach. We’ll be more direct and say you’d just have to be incredibly stupid to believe that. Silk and Hanauer et al are certainly hoping you are.
Oh silly us, Silk said they just want to spark a “conversation” on the topic – how very non-threatening it all sounds.
Two potential initiatives filed
The leftist groups behind this effort actually filed two different potential initiatives, one defining the wealthy as households earning $1 million or more, the other putting the line at $600,000. Either version would require the state Dept. of Revenue to prepare a report for legislators breaking down the tax burden by income. Lawmakers would then have to act by 2020.
Spokesman Silk says they haven’t decided to go forward with an initiative yet and may instead opt for an “education campaign.” But the campaign is already racking up debts, including $75,000 to pollsters. Gov. Jay Inslee’s 2016 campaign manager and his political fundraiser are both involved in the effort. The Times again:
“Inslee has unsuccessfully pushed for capital-gains taxes in his budget proposals, but has said he does not support a general state income tax. However, he has declined to say whether he’d veto an income-tax bill if lawmakers delivered one to his desk.”
Inslee “declined to say” – any guesses on why? Probably because he’d happily sign an income tax and all of his supposed opposition to one is a mile wide and an inch deep. Besides, enacting an income tax would be pretty popular with the far-left base he’ll need to appeal to if he’s going to run for (vice) president.