John Burbank, executive director of the labor-funded Economic Opportunity Institute, is again singing his favorite tune for a state income tax. Burbank recently wrote an op-ed in the Everett Herald waxing poetic for how “elegant” a state income tax would be in Washington. Burbank wrote,
“When we talk about sustainable, predictable and ample revenue to fully fund basic education and tackle structural funding inequities, there is one simple, elegant and robust solution: a progressive income tax. Yes, in 2010 voters in Snohomish County clobbered an income tax on the wealthy, by a margin of 2 to 1. But in Seattle, more than 63 percent of the voters supported this tax…
“Our state legislators should vote a progressive income tax into law. That really is the only way to end the undermining of public schools. But if they just dawdle around the edges, shrugging their shoulders at the fines and contempt findings leveled on them by the Supreme Court, voters will need to take matters into their own hands.”
Burbank’s op-ed relies on the notion that our state would absolutely use income tax revenue to fund public schools, even though as the state’s “paramount duty”, education should be the first item funded in the budget, and not need any additional tax revenue at all. Of course, as Shift has pointed out again and again, the reality is that money brought in by a state income tax will not necessarily be used for all the things that liberals promise. The track record of Democrats in our state over the past thirty years is all the evidence needed.
Washington voters have said “no” to an income tax many times before, but that hasn’t kept the Left from organizing around the idea of a state income tax on “high earners” (which, based on Democrats’ track record, will quickly become an income tax on everyone). And, Democrats are using education funding – which they have let deteriorate over the last generation that they have run Olympia – as the means to accomplish their tax-hiking objective.
Interestingly enough, Burbank uses the op-ed as an opportunity to hint at a call to action, stating that voters will need to “take matters into their own hands” twice. That very well may mean Burbank has plans to force Washington voters to—once again—give their opinion on a state income tax via an initiative in 2016.
We can only hope that Burbank will let Jay Inslee run for re-election promising to institute a state income tax – something which Inslee claimed in 2012 he voted against (though few actually believed him then).