Why special session? Democrats want an income tax, Republicans don’t
Published in today’s Everett Herald:
Voters have repeatedly rejected state income tax proposals
By Tim Eyman, Everett Herald, Tue Jun 6th, 2017
I strongly disagree with letter writer Jerry Fraser (“Burbank correct on regressive state tax system,” June 1) who recently wrote that voters “need to get over their irrational and emotional opposition to an income tax.”
Voters have nine times rejected an income tax. Most recently, in 2010, 65 percent of voters said no to Initiative 1098. Even though it lost in all 39 counties, Fraser complains, “This initiative was defeated largely by negative and false ads.” That’s ridiculous. It was a fair fight: the no campaign spent $6 million and the yes side spent $6 million. Voters heard both sides.
Income tax opponents’ main argument was that no matter where it starts initially, a new income tax will eventually hit everyone. That’s undeniably true. Once established, in no time, tax rates will go up and income thresholds will go down. Everyone’s gonna pay for this additional tax.
And the last thing voters want is another tax. We already have one of the highest sales taxes in the nation, highest gas tax, skyrocketing car tab taxes, sky-high property taxes, business taxes, death taxes, and cigarette/marijuana/liquor taxes. We’re taxed enough already. And don’t kid yourself: a state income tax will never be instead of our current tax burden, it will be in addition to it.
Pro-income-tax-Democrats always claim, “Don’t worry, our proposal only targets rich people.” That’s what they said in 2010 and voters clearly didn’t believe them.
But what I found especially encouraging was that voters rejected the argument that successful people are the enemy. Divisive efforts to demonize them backfired. They are allies, not enemies, heroes, not villains. They are the job creators who provide the fuel for our economy’s growth. They are role models who deserve a pat on the shoulder, not a knife in the back. Voters reject the ugly politics of envy, resentment, and class warfare. That’s just not how most Washingtonians think or feel. Our state and our society benefit from appreciating and encouraging our entrepreneurs and risk-takers. Voters oppose stealing their earned achievements.
This year, Gov. Jay Inslee and House and Senate Democrats have numerous income tax proposals and the Republicans strongly oppose them. That’s why it’s difficult to reach a budget agreement this year; Democrats want an income tax and Republicans don’t.
With Democrats so obsessed with raising taxes, I think it is perfectly rational for voters to oppose a new income tax. Nine ballot box rejections oughta be enough to get Democrats to back off.
Tim Eyman, Mukilteo
“Taxes are the hold up.” So said veteran Olympia reporter Melissa Santos on her Capitol Happy Hour video podcast this week (Fast forward to the 6:58 mark: http://www.thenewstribune.com/
Over the past 18 years, nearly 2/3 of voters have repeatedly sent a clear don’t-raise-our-taxes message at the ballot box. Initiative after initiative lowering taxes or making it tougher to raise taxes have consistently been approved. The people have been clear.
The House and Senate Republicans’ no-new-taxes position has the support of 2/3 of voters, Democrats are speaking for only a third of the electorate (Seattle taxpayers).