The state Legislature may have wrapped up session with a no-new-taxes state budget, but Jay Inslee and his far left supporters have not given up on their tax-hike agenda. Already, Inslee and his supporters are clamoring behind a new effort to increase taxes on Washington’s working families.
Inslee ended the 2015 legislative session just as he began it – with a demand for new taxes. And, it didn’t take long for his supporters to respond to his call. As Shift reported, liberal “think” tanks have joined forces with the Washington Education Association (WEA) to champion a state income tax on “high earners”—a tax they promise would produce the revenue needed to fund the WEA’s money-grab initiative, I-1351. Given the Democrats for keeping their promises, it wouldn’t take long for the tax to apply to many more people than just “high earners.”
Inslee’s latest call for new taxes illustrates just how far our green governor has come from promising to not raise taxes as a gubernatorial candidate less than three years ago. Just as a reminder, here are just a couple of promises Inslee made as a candidate:
- “Under my plan, it should not be necessary to address that issue because on my plan we’re not going to request additional taxes.”
- “I would veto anything that heads the wrong direction and the wrong direction is new taxes in the state of Washington.”
- “And I don’t believe that tax increases are the right, uh, route forward for our state.”
To be more specific, during an interview, candidate Inslee was asked whether or not he would sign a state income tax if it came to his desk as governor. Inslee responded by stating he was no a supporter of the state income tax. Yet, a state income tax (in the form of a capital gains income tax) is exactly what Inslee proposed when he released his budget proposal in December 2014.
Our green governor proposed historic tax increases totaling $1.4 billion, including a state capital gains income tax and a cap-and-tax scheme. During the 2015 legislative session, in a far cry from his no-new-taxes campaign promises, Inslee even threatened to veto any budget that does not raise taxes. Here’s a summary of Inslee’s tax increase proposals (courtesy of the Washington Policy Center):
- Creation of a capital gains income tax – $798 million
- Create state carbon cap and trade system – $380 million (another $549 million for transportation budget)
- Cigarette/e-cigs tax increase – $56 million
- Remove sales tax exemption for trade-ins – $105 million
- Remove use tax exemption for extracted fuel – $51 million
- Charge sales tax on non-residents – $52 million
- Charge sales tax on bottled water – $44 million
- Change B&O tax rate for royalties – $30 million
Thanks to the Senate Republicans’ steadfast commitment to producing a responsible, sustainable budget, Inslee was forced to drop his push for a $1.4 billion tax package—which he did in May. In an attempt to save face, our green governor did say he still believed taxes should be raised. He just refused then to say which taxes.
Inslee was forced to back down on his state capital gains income tax by June. He did, however, insist lawmakers “would have to focus on closing a series of unspecified tax preferences.” In other words, Inslee wanted lawmakers to close tax breaks in order to produce added revenue.
The Senate Republicans and House Democrats State struck an agreement. They would close certain tax breaks for a net revenue increase of $180.3 million. Inslee has since applauded the tax incentive closures as… tax increases.
As a candidate Inslee not only declared his opposition to new taxes, but he also declared his support for closing certain tax breaks. Here’s the irony: As a candidate, Inslee insisted that closing tax breaks did not count as increasing taxes. Candidate Inslee answered on interviewer who questioned him on taxes, “My plan is very specific, it does not propose or support tax increases, in general taxes.” Of course, Inslee’s “plan” included closing certain tax breaks to generate revenue.
Just like his position on tax hikes, our green governor’s classification of closing tax breaks appears to have also changed. And, why? Apparently, all to save face and appeal to his far left supporters.
Considering this track record, expect Inslee to lead the charge along with his far left supporters’ in the push for a state income tax.