The state Supreme Court has raised quite a few eyebrows with its recent ideological decisions, from a $100,000 per day fine on taxpayers to ruling that charter schools are unconstitutional. These rulings give rise to the frightening prospects that the activist court may soon have an opportunity impose its liberal agenda on our state’s tax structure. The Washington Policy Center,
“The vote of just five state Supreme Court Justices could be the difference between Washington maintaining its competitive advantage of not imposing state income taxes and the eight decade old dam of legal precedent preventing these types of taxes being torn down.
“Since 1930 the state Supreme Court has issued numerous opinions interpreting 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%. While there is no ban on enactment of a uniform income tax limited to 1%, under eight decades of legal precedents, a progressive or targeted income tax in Washington is unconstitutional.”
The state Department of Revenue has confirmed the state income tax ban in our state. But, the agency also included an interesting qualifier in its description of the ban via 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.”
According to the Washington Policy Center, that very well may have happened if Democrats were able to pass a state capital gains income tax. The tax, in all likelihood, would have been appealed to the state Supreme Court. Five judges would have then had the power to open the floodgates to a state income tax should they rule in favor of a state capital gains income tax.
What can Washingtonians do to ensure the law continues to protect them from a state income tax? The Washington Policy Center explains,
“Consider the example of what voters in Tennessee did last year. Like Washington, Tennessee doesn’t tax income but prior to 2014 the lack of an income tax was a policy decision, not prohibited. Wanting to make sure citizens and businesses could have the peace of mind an income tax wasn’t just a legislative session away, lawmakers asked voters to approve a constitutional amendment banning income taxes…
“66% of Tennessee voters agreed in 2014 approving the constitutional ban on income taxes.”
That’s certainly something that deserves consideration, given how desperate Democrats are to implement a state income tax and the recent decisions made by our ultra-liberal state Supreme Court.