State income tax idea deserves to be 'DOA'
House GOP leaders see proposal as strategy for sustaining big-spending budget
House Republican leaders made these statements today in response to Senate Joint Resolution 8209 and Senate Bill 5150, which together would amend the state Constitution to enact a state income tax:
Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, House Republican Leader: “It’s irresponsible to propose a state income tax when your budget writers are looking at a projected revenue surplus of $1.8 billion. But that’s what can happen with one-party rule.
"I don't recall the Democrats telling their constituents last year that this would be at the top of their agenda if they held a majority in the Legislature.
“The governor’s proposed budget has been criticized, and rightly so, for taking revenue that should be viewed as one-time money and committing it to new and expanded government programs. The state general fund is headed for a deficit if the Legislature follows her unsustainable approach.
"Instead of looking at a state income tax to raise revenue that would sustain big spending commitments, I’d like to hear the majority party talk about coming in with a budget that lives within our means and protects taxpayers with a responsible reserve. That would be closer to the true leadership Washingtonians deserve from their Legislature."
Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, Republican leader on the House Finance Committee: “They say this legislation will 'provide fiscal reform,' but no one will be fooled. It's really about raising taxes.
"An income tax would take more money out of the economy, which is exactly the opposite of what’s best for Washington.
"The usual argument for a state income tax has the income tax coming in, in exchange for other taxes going away. But some of those other taxes allow local governments to collect taxes on top of what the state collects, like the sales tax and property tax. If the state portion of those taxes is reduced but local governments compensate by using more of their taxing authority, the overall burden on our taxpayers could be higher than it is now -- it's called "tax creep."
"The majority party may try to establish some credibility on taxes by supporting legislation like House Bill 1170, which I introduced last week, to restore the 1 percent property tax lid created through Initiative 747. But there's a huge difference: the voters set the 1 percent property tax limit, while they have rejected an income tax more than once.
"If the majority party wants tax reform, let's be clear about the net effect -- in this case a net increase in taxes over time. Taxpayers want to pay less as a result of tax reform, not more! I have spent many hours listening to proposals regarding an income tax but have yet to see how a state income tax will put people to work.
"We can create more revenue for needed services by strengthening the economy and creating jobs so there are more people with growing wealth to spend into a growing economy. We should focus on having more taxpayers paying taxes -- not on people paying more in taxes."