Port Townsend is now the third city in Washington state, along with Seattle and Olympia, considering imposition of an income tax. However, one Southwest Washington lawmaker says, not so fast! John Sattgast with the Washington House Republicans reports from the state Capitol.
SATTGAST: State Representative Brandon Vick says Washington’s current law says “a county, city or city-county shall not levy a tax on net income.” But he says there are some cities who now think they can find a way around the law.
So Vick has introduced House Bill 2212 that would broadly prohibit local governments from imposing an income tax on an individual’s or household’s income.
VICK: “So we wanted to expand upon that. We wanted to clarify once and for all that no means no as far as an income tax is concerned.”
SATTGAST: The 18th District lawmaker believes cities such as Seattle are intentionally tempting a court challenge, hoping a friendly judge would overrule the state’s prohibition against an income tax.
VICK: “This is a direct end-around of not only the voters in a city like Seattle, but of the Legislature. There were no bills brought before the Legislature this year to address this issue. There was no discussion in a committee or policy area about the pros or cons of a local income tax. This is just the city of Seattle trying to find a judge sympathetic to their cause.”
SATTGAST: Washington voters have rejected a statewide income tax seven times since 1933. Vick is hopeful his bill sends a strong message to the cities. . .
VICK: “And any attorney, I would hope from the city of any size, or any political leaning would realize that hey, there is a no path forward here. We’re not going to waste the taxpayers’ time. We’re not going to waste the city’s time.”
SATTGAST: The measure has been referred to the House Finance Committee.
John Sattgast, Olympia.