As majority Democrats sought to impose a state income tax with Senate Bill 5096, state Sen. Phil Fortunato fought to ensure taxpayer fairness by offering four amendments to slow the bills progression through the Legislature and ensure any new revenue collected would benefit working families in Washington.
“Let’s be clear, no matter what the proponents of this tax want to call it – excise, capital gains, billionaire, millionaire tax – it’s an income tax. Every state in the country calls it that, the IRS calls it that. Let’s get out of the alternative reality and gaslighting that’s going on,” said Fortunato. “The overwhelming majority of people that I represent know that and are opposed to this new type of income tax. My amendments present the best of both worlds by making this voluntary, preventing local jurisdictions from imposing a similar tax, getting rid of the sales tax on food and clothes, and incentivizing assistance for vulnerable Washingtonians.”
Amendment 405 would make the new capital gains tax voluntary. Fortunato argues that a small group of hyper-progressive billionaires have been lobbying for this new tax so he wants to ensure they can contribute as much as they want while protecting his constituents from the Olympia money-grab.
“Those that feel like they aren’t paying enough taxes can simply write the state a check that will go into this taxpayer fairness dedicated account,” said Fortunato. “Instead of wasting money on growing government, we’re going to get rid of the sales tax on food and clothes for working families.”
Amendment 406 would use new revenue collected from the income tax that is deposited into the Taxpayer Fairness Account to offset the sale and use tax exemption for food and clothing to the state’s General Fund.
Amendment 407 would create a state preemption on local jurisdictions implementing their own income taxes.
“The bottom line is that we don’t need more taxes, especially an unconstitutional form of income tax, but since the majority is hell-bent on it, we ought to have some other provisions to protect taxpayers,” Fortunato stated. “We’ve seen some local jurisdictions attempt to go down this road, but this should be under state control. We can’t have a patchwork of different income taxes throughout the state depending on your zip code.”
Finally, Fortunato wants to incentivize support of the disabled community. Amendment 404 would provide a deduction against a capital gains income tax for contributions specifically to nonprofits serving those with disabilities.
“Despite record revenues coming to the state and having one of the most stable tax structures, vulnerable Washingtonians are continually left behind,” added Fortunato. “Before all this money is taken out of the state’s economy to grow government, I want to incentivize supporting organizations serving the disabled community and reduce people’s tax burden.”
Fortunato’s amendments to the underlying income tax legislation were not adopted. The Democratic majority approved the bill, which was amended to remove the emergency clause, by a vote of 28 to 21. It now heads to the state House of Representatives.