Weaponizing Taxes

Weaponizing Taxes

Weaponizing Taxes

The Washington State Economic Revenue Forecast Council on March 20 reported:

Forecasted Near General Fund-State revenue for the 2017-19 biennium is now $46.106 billion, 18.1 percent more than that of the 2015-17 biennium. Near General Fund-State revenue for the 2019-21 biennium is now $50.555 billion, 9.6 percent higher than expected 2017-19 biennial revenue

If revenue is up 10 percent, why are Gov. Jay Inslee and Democrat leaders in the Legislature so convinced tax increases are needed? Certainly, they can think of ways to spend the money, but established public services are more than adequately funded without a tax increase.

In essence, they want to establish the precedent of using taxes as a weapon. Consider the kinds of new taxes being considered include:

HB 2156 A capital gains income tax* of 9.9 percent for some people – $780 million (up to $1.9 billion next biennium), and a higher Real Estate Excise Tax on some real estate sales – $130 million (up to $191 million next biennium).

HB 2158 A Business & Occupation Tax increase for some businesses – $427 million (up to $613 million next biennium)

SB 5971 A “Carbon Tax” – $906 million (up to $1.8 billion next biennium)

SB 5313  hikes local property taxes to fund broke districts’ teacher pay raises – $355 million to $590 per year to put the cost of WEA’s strike-induced pay raises on the backs of taxpayers.

These are not needed for their revenue but instead are intended to use tax policy to penalize the actors and actions the proponents have decided are undesirable.


* NOTE: Freedom Foundation intends to sue if an unconstitutional, weaponized income tax is passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor.

Senior Policy Analyst
Jami Lund is the Freedom Foundation’s Senior Policy Analyst. From 2004 to 2011, he developed legislative policy as a research analyst for the Washington House Republican Caucus. Prior to that he worked for the Freedom Foundation as the Project Manager for the Teachers Paycheck Protection project, shepherding the development of the Foundation’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court case to protect teacher rights. Jami is an accomplished speaker and researcher, one of Washington state’s top scholars on education policy and finance.