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March 8, 2021


OLYMPIA – State Senate Republicans have reacted strongly after the Senate’s Democratic majority approved legislation to create a state income tax, despite knowing an income tax has been unconstitutional in Washington since 1932.

Since 1934, Washington voters have rejected 10 attempts to enact an income tax, either through amending the state constitution or a citizen initiative. If Senate Bill 5096 becomes law as passed today, on a 25-24 vote, voters will have to mount a challenge by qualifying a referendum themselves. A proposal to send the bill directly to the November ballot as a referendum was among all 15 Republican amendments rejected by the Democratic majority.

Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, says, “It just isn’t true for anyone to claim, as the supporters did again today, that adopting an income tax is about restructuring Washington’s tax code and reducing the tax burden on the working families in our state. If it was, SB 5096 wouldn’t just take more money, it would also reduce the sales tax or repeal one or more of the other regressive taxes imposed on the people. One of our Republican amendments would have accomplished that, yet it was rejected.,” Braun added

Sen. Braun mentioned that, “Once again we were told that Washington’s tax system is ‘upside down,’ yet households in our state making between $25,000 and $250,000 a year pay 10.1 percent of their income toward state and local taxes, compared to the national average of 9.7 percent. That hardly seems like a dire situation in need of a drastic move like the adoption of an income tax.”

The proposal is now under consideration in the State House.

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