Lens reviews bill that proposes local income taxes

Feb 20, 2019
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Written by Washington Retail
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A rival bill would prevent income taxes

Talk of charging income taxes refuses to die around the state despite several rejections by voters and a state constitutional prohibition.

State Senate Majority Caucus Vice Chair Bob Hasegawa, (D-Seattle) has introduced SB 5928 during the current 2019 Legislative Session. It would allow cities and counties to enact graduated income taxes on individuals or businesses provided they first made a comparable reduction in local sales and use taxes, public utility taxes, business and occupation taxes or property taxes.

Lens, the online news site of the Business Institute of Washington, has a story about the bill that includes a state history of the debate surrounding whether income taxes are legal in Washington. In 2017, a King County Superior Court judge struck down a Seattle ordinance that would have imposed an income tax on wealthy residents.

At the same time, Representative Brandon Vick has introduced HB 1588 that would prevent local governments from approving income taxes. He noted that voters have rejected an income tax 10 times in Washington including six proposed constitutional amendments to overturn the law preventing a graduated income tax.

Washington Retail and its members have long opposed income taxes, which are prohibited in the state constitution. After failing to get a ruling in state Supreme Court, Seattle continues in the Court of Appeals to seek permission to impose an income tax.