Jim McIntire, the Democrat State Treasurer first elected in 2008, has announced that he will not seek re-election. But, that hasn’t stopped him from pushing his party’s far-Left agenda.
Last April, McIntire proposed a 5% state income tax. Now, he is doing it again. In a recent op-ed piece for the Seattle Times, McIntire once again advocated what he calls a “grand bargain”: imposing a 5 percent personal-income tax while eliminating the state property tax and reducing business taxes.
McIntire argues that his plan “sustains needed investments in education.” According to McIntire, “our tax base has been shrinking for decades” which means our state’s “tax revenue doesn’t grow as fast as our economy and the demand for public services.”
Here’s the problem with McIntire’s argument: our state’s revenue continues to surpass estimates. During the last legislative session, lawmakers had $3.2 billion (a whopping 9.2% increase) more in tax revenue than they had the last time they wrote the state budget.
It’s not that our state has a revenue problem. Our state has a spending problem. Unfortunately, that’s something Democrats from Jay Inslee, to Frank Chopp, to McIntire refuse to recognize.
The argument that a state income tax is needed to meet our state’s education funding requirement is false. If Democrats truly prioritized education spending, they would not have to push for new taxes. Rather, they would fund education first through existing funds, and prioritize other spending within the remaining revenue available.
Since taking leadership in the state Senate, Republicans and the Majority Coalition Caucus have proved that prioritizing K-12 education funding is possible. Republicans have managed to re-direct funding to education, all without the tax increases that Inslee and the House Democrats have included in their state budget proposals since 2013.
Unfortunately, most Democrats share McIntire’s infatuation with creating a state income tax to grow the size of government. And, they use education funding as an excuse to push their agenda, because advocating for higher taxes to reward their special-interest campaign donors is probably not a winning strategy.
Of course, attacking our state’s economic competitiveness by creating an income tax is the position of the state Democrat Party, which lists a state income tax in its platform as one of its “guiding principles.” So, you can expect many more arguments like those presented by McIntire in the years to come, even after he is (thankfully) gone from office.