Washington State voters defeated I-1098—a state-wide initiative that would have implemented a state income tax– in 2010 by a 28% margin. Unfortunately, as SHIFT reported in the past, 64% of Washingtonians voting against a state income tax is not enough to fend off Democrats. In its latest party platform, the Washington State Democratic Party described a state income tax as a “guiding principle,” a goal for the future of Washington State.
A key step for Democrats to realize their goal is re-gaining control of the state Senate from the Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC). That’s what Democrats are fighting for in 2014 mid-term elections.
Some Democrat candidates avoid overtly supporting an income tax and instead declare support for “new revenue options,” as is the case for state Senate candidate Chris Eggen (D, 32nd District). State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36th District), currently seeking re-election, advocates “enacting fair and progressive tax reform” that reverses “unfortunate and unacceptable income inequality…” Other Democrat candidates do not shy away from supporting a state income tax, revealing their unwillingness to listen to voters.
Recently, a far left blog in Seattle released a list of its endorsed 2014 primary candidates in which it celebrates three Democrat candidates who support the implementation of a state income tax. The far left blog states that State Senator David Frockt, seeking re-election in the 46th LD, “favors significant taxes on the wealthy—a capital gains tax, income tax, and closing corporate tax loopholes…” Additionally,Pramila Jayapal, seeking election for state Senate in the 37th LD, supports “smart, progressive policies—including an income tax on the rich…” And, 48th LD state Senate candidate Cyrus Habib hopes to “eventually passing a capital-gains tax or an income tax on the rich.”
Democrats’ message may often appear vague, but their intention is clear. When taking into consideration the Democrat-controlled state House, their state income tax agenda becomes obvious. During the 2014 legislative session, state Rep. Marko Liias (D-Mukilteo) gained a total of 16 Democrat co-sponsors for his state income tax bill (HB 1545).
Democrats prove time and time again that listening to voters is not in their playbook. Democrat legislators will continue to turn a deaf ear to voters’ message on I-1098 in their pursuit of a state income tax.