Two weeks ago Shift reported on a tricky initiative filed by Lefty groups that aims to fool voters into approving a state income tax. Or rather, it would fool people into voting for a premise they like (that they currently pay too much in state taxes), which would set up a two-step process (that would most likely result in an income tax).
Yet the initiative doesn’t say “income tax” anywhere in it. How clever.
We wrote, “[Liberals] accept that voters will never pass a straight-up income tax, so they’re trying this more convoluted approach instead.” Former state Attorney General Rob McKenna said that “this initiative’s one and only true aim is to enact an income tax through a convoluted backdoor process.”
Apparently “convoluted” was the word that naturally sprang to mind when reading this initiative. That’s because it’s complicated. Duplicitous. Dishonest.
It’s also, for the time being, a no-go.
Newsflash: A state income tax polled really poorly
Jim Brunner at the Seattle Times reports that, “with a summer deadline approaching to gather signatures for an initiative, the effort has been called off. Instead of a ballot measure, the group will launch a public discussion and education campaign,” according to Zach Silk, a spokesperson for Nick Hanauer, an early investor in Amazon who now spends big on far-left political efforts.
Why did they shy away from taking their clever plan to the ballot? You could speculate – that the $75,000 worth of polling they did showed people hate the idea of a state income tax – and you’d probably be right.
There’s no speculation needed here, because Hanauer’s crew pretty well confirmed that theory. Silk told the Times, “One of the things that has been clear to us is just how misinformed public and community leaders are about how upside down the tax system is.”
But hold on, they didn’t spend $75,000 polling “public and community leaders.” They polled voters. What did they have to say on the issue? And if they don’t want a state income tax, does that make them “misinformed”?
Is this really even a matter of “information”? All it comes down to is, if you disagree with Silk and Hanauer, you’re misinformed. If you agree with them, you’re informed.
Instead of an initiative this year, Hanauer et al are embarking on a “public discussion and education campaign.” Get ready to be edu-ma-cated!
“Not wedded to any particular tax outcome”? That’s misinformed
Groups like the Service Employees International Union got involved with Hanauer’s initiative group, People for a Balanced Tax Code, for a simple reason. They’re for bigger government and higher taxes, in all circumstances.
They will never say, “OK, enough. Government is as big as it needs to be.”
That’s why it’s so absurd that Silk asserted to the Times that his group wasn’t wedded to any particular tax outcome. Of course they are; they’re wedded to a state income tax. He even said earlier, as paraphrased by the Times, that “lawmakers could focus more on lowering taxes for the poor as opposed to imposing higher taxes on the rich.”
Yeah. That’s what these far-left groups are going for, a lower tax burden and a smaller state government.
Silk had one other odd assertion: “We haven’t had this kind of concerted statewide conversation in a long time.” We haven’t? What was Initiative 1098, the last income tax initiative, sponsored and well-funded by some of the biggest names in Washington? Just because it went down in flames with a 64.15% no vote doesn’t mean it wasn’t “concerted.”
The one “conversation” the Left continually pushes in this state is about an income tax. We never stop talking about it.
As to the rest of us “misinformed” voters that Hanauer, Silk, and SEIU hope to “engage” – maybe it’s not that at all. Maybe we’re just practical, and suspicious, and canny. Because the one truth that people instinctively grasp is: No matter where a state income tax starts, eventually it will expand until is ensnares us all.
That’s not a matter of information, it’s pure political instincts. And it’s the reason that their $75,000 in polling brought back such unappetizing results to our tax-raising friends.
I grew up in California. One thing I can GUARANTEE: if the voters of WA ever approved an income tax (or, “wealth tax” as one of my uber-liberal acquaintances prefers to call it), they will see an INCREASE in overall tax rates. Liberals will NEVER get rid of user fees or any of the myriad taxes we have now, because to them the state will NEVER have enough revenue for its needs. Just look to the south to see what your future will look like.
Oh, and calling it a “wealth tax:” once they get it, just watch how the definition of “wealthy” will shift ever lower.