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Income Tax

Transparent Statement:
We need an income tax to provide more consistent tax revenue and reform our regressive tax structure.

Let's start with the obvious.
Is the income tax constitutional in the State of Washington? Probably not.
Does the State truly need it? Yes.
Would the Legislature ever pass it? Not if they want to get re-elected.
Would I fight for one as Governor? Absolutely.

I would willing to put an income tax on the ballot for voters to decide. Just consider it the first voter initiative that emerges from the Governor's initiative instead of citizens. (Yes, I realize the Governor is a citizen.) I would gladly travel to every county and town within the State to sell it.

Yes, I know an income tax initiative failed a few years ago. This was sold as a tax on the rich, but voters were likely worried that it was only a matter of time (and a short time, at that) before it eventually applied to them as well.

Just about every state has an income tax. Even Alaska, which until now has always relied on oil revenue, is exploring implementing an income tax for the first time. Does it suck? Well, yeah.

Is it necessary? I guess that depends on whether you believe funding education is necessary, or whether funding mental health is necessary, or state parks, or road and bridges, etc. Unfortunately, there are lots of things that are woefully underfunded today because there is not enough revenue to fund them. And there never will be as long as we rely on sales tax revenue.

It is possible to implement a small income tax that will help change the regressive and unreliable nature of our sales tax. As part of any income tax package, I would also propose reducing the sales tax. The goal is to increase overall tax revenue to the State, increase taxes on upper-income people, reduce taxes for low-income people and keep it the same for middle-income people.

Steve Rubenstein for Governor | Privacy Policy