Income tax

Spokane County Latest to Oppose Local Income Tax »Publications» Washington Policy Center

Spokane County Commissioners today unanimously passed a resolution opposing a local income tax. Spokane County is the third county to act, joining Franklin County and Yakima County as well as 11 Washington cities with local income tax bans including Battle Ground, DuPont, Granger, Kennewick, Longview, Moses Lake, Richland, Spokane, Spokane Valley, Union Gap and Yakima.

From the Spokane County resolution:

“The Spokane County Council of Commissioners opposes the imposition of a local income tax on businesses and residents of unincorporated Spokane County. Such a tax would directly conflict with the high value Spokane County places on promoting economic development through the attraction and expansion of financially healthy family employers. Small businesses are the backbone of our local, regional, state and national economy and it is imperative that Spokane County does not put unnecessary obstacles in the way of their success. As such, the Spokane County Council of Commissioners opposes the imposition of a local income tax in the event that a local income tax is deemed legal and authorized by the state legislature. of Washington or the Supreme Court of the State of Washington.

Josh Kerns, chairman of the Spokane County Commissioners Council, said in a press release:

“As commissioners, we have a responsibility to protect the well-being of our community. Small businesses and families have been hit hard enough by the pandemic. The last thing they need now is for the government to step in and take more of their hard earned money away from them. This resolution is simply drawing a line in the sand for something we won’t watch happen. “

Local governments are passing these bans in response to a surprising 2019 Court of Appeals ruling that opened the door to a 1% local fixed income tax. The state Supreme Court upheld this decision by not hearing the appeal.

Earlier this year, the legislature passed an unconstitutional capital gains tax (while refusing to prevent cities from taxing a local version) with the stated goal of supporters of using the courts to open the door to income tax across the state. Capital gains tax is currently the subject of litigation.

In response to these continued efforts to impose an income tax, the Herald of the Three Cities The editorial board wrote in September after Kennewick passed an income tax ban:

“If enough individual communities rise up against idea an income tax, perhaps lawmakers will stop trying to force the issue and instead focus on other tax reforms that would be more acceptable to the general public. . . Other cities are expected to give new impetus to this anti-tax campaign, including Richland, West Richland, Pasco, Benton City, Prosser and Connell. The more people who join the message, the more powerful it will be. “

Not only have Washingtonians rejected 10 consecutive income tax voting measures (including six proposed constitutional amendments), but last week, the WA Tax Structure Task Force received an update from its consultant on community meetings and outreach that took place earlier this year, showing voters still oppose an income tax.

As more cities and counties ban a local income tax, we hope that this clear and consistent message against an income tax will finally be heard by state lawmakers and the governor.

Additional information
Unsurprisingly, Tax Structure Task Force Process Reveals Voters Still Don’t Want Income Tax
Briefs filed in capital gains tax lawsuit
Yakima voters overwhelmingly pass amendment to local income tax ban charter
Washington cities decide to ban local income taxes

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