Today, Democrat state lawmakers proposed a graduated state income tax scheme (SJR 8214) that would be imposed by a constitutional amendment. As the Washington Policy Center’s (WPC) Jason Mercier points out, it isn’t likely the proposal would make any progress with voters, even in the highly unlikely event that it passes the state Legislature.
The reality Democrats don’t want to face is that voters have, consistently, voted against a state income tax by a high majority. Via the WPC,
- 1934 – HJR 12: Yes 43%; No 57%
- 1936 – SJR 7: Yes 22%; No 78%
- 1938 – SJR 5: Yes 33% ; No 67%
- 1942 – Constitutional Amendment Article VII, Sec. 2: Yes 34%; No 66%
- 1944 – I-158: Yes 30%; No 70%
- 1973 – HJR 37: Yes 23%; No 77%
- 1975 – I-314: Yes 33%; No 67%
- 1982 – I-435: Yes 34%; No 66%
- 2010 – I-1098: Yes 36%; No 64%
According to Mercier, the fact that Democrats are attempting to pass a graduated income tax proposal by constitutional amendments demonstrates that they still acknowledge the relevancy of pervious court rulings that have interpreted “Article 7, Sections 1 and 2 of the state’s constitution to require taxation of property, including income, to be uniform and limited to 1%.”
Unfortunately, the state Department of Revenue (DOR) does not necessary see the state constitution the same way. The agency wrote in a recent email, “Revenue as an agency doesn’t take a position on whether the current court would follow the old precedents and hold a graduated or targeted income tax unconstitutional.”
The agency’s hesitancy is more than a little concerning. Mercier explains,
“It is very concerning that state’s tax agency isn’t sure ‘whether the current court’ feels bound to follow eight decades of case law. We do know the court recently gave deference to a 106 year old ruling in the charter school case but there are many who believe (as warned by DOR) that this court would break from past precedent on income taxes. “
Voters would do well not to leave the issue up to state Supreme Court justices, five of which could overturn years of precedents and reason itself. Rather, as Mercier puts it, Washingtonians should encourage state lawmakers to “let the people act on a constitutional amendment making the state’s ban on income taxes crystal clear and immune from judicial tinkering.”
Todd Welch says
I believe the Democrats will use McCleary and I-1351 to push for a State Income Tax.
If they combined this with a repeal of the sales tax they might have a chance.
Democrats: Never met someone else’s wallet they didn’t like.
“Democratic state lawmakers”
There’s exactly one person listed on the linked bill: Senator Maralyn Chase, who does this every year.
Which Democrats are they talking about? Why not publish the author and supports of this instead of the typical drivel about how the Democrats did this or that?
Lets see the proof they even are doing this.
Chan Bailey says
Click on the link in the story and it will take you to the state legislative website so you can see and read it for yourself.
Stephen Serafin says
How ironic! Democrats want a constitutional amendment for a tax the majority of voters continue to reject, but they can’t be bothered to give the majority of voters the right to vote on a 2/3rds margin to raise taxes via constitutional amendment.
SGM Bob says
Democrats know NOTHING except force more taxes on constituency. I guess I should know by now, that all Democrats want is to tax and spend. Tax and Spend. That’s their motto. How do Democrats keep getting elected? Sure beats me!