Income tax

Commentary: Respect the voters — repeal the capital gains tax | Opinion

Income taxes are unconstitutional in Washington State.

Taxpayers have tried 10 times in the past 100 years to change this part of the state constitution, but Washington voters — the people who decide these things — said no. Then they said no again. And even. Again. Again. Again. Again. Again. Again. And even.

The message seems obvious: we don’t want income tax. The Liberals’ response: OK, so we won’t call it an income tax.

Last April, the majority party in the Legislative Assembly passed a 7% tax on long-term capital gains income, effective January 1, 2022. This latest regime lacks any serious attempt to comply to the constitution of the state, apart from a rhetorical trick. Proponents call it an excise tax on the sale of an asset. But the truth is that it is a tax on personal gain from the sale of an asset – otherwise known as income tax.

It’s not just my opinion. This is how other tax jurisdictions, including the federal government, view it.

The problem for proponents is that the state constitution requires that income taxes be level and not exceed 1%. Rather than alter the constitution – which is difficult, by design – they chose the semantics in hopes that no one would notice.

Well, people noticed. The tax is being challenged in court and may soon be reversed.

Voters are also paying attention. Seven months after the ink dried on the law, 61% of voters said it should be repealed – a fact that should surprise no one.

I stand with Washingtonians who oppose new income taxes. This is why I proposed the 1912 House Bill this year. The measure would repeal the new capital gains tax. Plain and simple.

It would be bad enough if this new income tax were allowed despite voter disapproval and its blatant unconstitutionality, but it’s worse than that: it’s unnecessary.

State lawmakers entered this year with a four-year operating budget surplus expected to be $8.8 billion — in addition to $2.2 billion in reserves and $1.2 billion in reserve funds. unspent federal stimulus. We should not be taxing Washingtonians more, especially at a time when many are struggling with the high cost of living and inflation.

I have a deeper concern about this new tax. While its proponents say it targets the super rich, we all know it will turn into a tax on all forms of income that working families will have to pay.

With a massive budget surplus and a clear mandate from Washingtonians, now is the time to right last year’s mistake. Let us pass the 1912 House Bill to repeal this unpopular, unconstitutional and unnecessary tax.


Jeremie Dufault is a Republican from Selah who represents the 15th Legislative District in the Washington State House of Representatives.