Voters in the Washington State have struck down attempts to add a state income tax 10 times in the past 86 years and the state constitution clearly defines income and prohibits a tax on income. Additionally, the State Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the will of the voters and the constitutionality of the prohibition of an income tax each time the issue has been brought before the court.
However, year after year supporters of an income tax and the democrats in the state legislature have attempted to pass legislation establishing an income tax while avoiding a public vote on the issue.
This year was no different, only a new tact was taken by creating a capital gains tax. The expectation was that the issue would result in a lawsuit brought before the State Supreme Court with the hope to get a new ruling from the State Supreme Court that a capital gains tax would not be considered an income tax.
This legislation has already resulted in two lawsuits being filed in Douglas County Superior Court on behalf of groups of Washington residents. Both cases are in the preliminary stages of litigation.
There was another significant difference this year with a provision included in the bill that eliminated the ability of voters to force this legislation to a referendum on the ballot, where voters could be heard. The legislation requires any challenge to have to be done through the initiative process that has tougher requirements in order to get the issue in front of the voters.
Join CEOtoCEO on July 8 as Max Nelsen discusses the new capital gains tax, the tumultuous history of efforts to impose an income tax in Washington, and the current legal and political challenges to the new tax.
Max Nelsen is the Director of Labor Policy for the Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit policy advocacy and public interest litigation organization based in Olympia.
Max regularly testifies before local governments and state legislatures and submits formal comments to federal agencies considering regulatory actions affecting business.
Max's work has been published in newspapers and magazines around the country including the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. He has been featured on the national news, and he is regularly interviewed on local radio and TV stations in the Pacific Northwest.
Prior to joining the Freedom Foundation in 2013, Max worked for the Washington Policy Center and interned with the Heritage Foundation.
Max graduated magna cum laude from Whitworth University with a B.A. in political science. He lives in Washington State with his wife and son.
The Income Tax Tea Party in Washington State
Live Online - YouTube Live Stream
Thursday, July 8, 2021
8:30 - 9:30 a.m.