During the 2017 legislative session, Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, sponsored a state constitutional amendment to prohibit the imposition of an unpopular income tax on citizens in Washington state. Although the measure had bipartisan support, Senate Joint Resolution 8204 needed a two-thirds majority to pass. Most Senate Democrats voted against the measure while all 25 members of the then-Majority Coalition Caucus supported it.
“When I introduced this proposal, people scoffed,” said Fortunato. “During debate, the opposition said we were wasting valuable time on something no one was talking about. I guess he wasn’t paying attention because the counterparts in the House introduced income tax bills, the City of Seattle was trying to implement an income tax, and now they’ve reintroduced another proposal to create a state income tax on capital gains again.”
Using verbal camouflage, they are trying to redefine income tax, arguing that a tax on capital gains is an excise tax. However, state revenue departments across the country disagree. Even progressive California, “taxes capital gains as an income tax and taxed at the same rate and ordinary income.”
“The fact is that some in Olympia just want more of your money, regardless of where it comes from,” said Fortunato. “Pro-tax legislators constantly want to raise taxes to do something nice for the people. I say give them their own money back and let them do something nice for themselves. The people of Washington have been clear, even in progressive parts of the state; they don’t want an income tax.”