Unfazed by years of talk about how a state income tax is the third rail of Washington politics — touch it and you die – Senate veteran Rosa Franklin has launched Senate Bill 5150, proposing a state income tax starting at 2.2 percent for individuals with a taxable income up to $24,950. (Higher incomes would be taxed at 3.5 percent and 6 percent.)
Franklin, a Tacoma Democrat, also introduced Senate Joint Resolution 8209, which calls for the statewide vote to amend the constitution, something the state’s highest court has said would be necessary for Washington to institute a state income tax.
It’s highly, highly, highly unlikely that the bill – which Franklin is the sole sponsor of – will pass, but may make for an interesting debate, in Olympia and elsewhere. (Within a day, the state Republican Party put out a press release blasting it.)
Democrats have said for years that the state’s sales-tax-heavy tax system is unconscionably burdensome on low-income people, but voters seem very leery of tax reform out of fear that they’d end up paying more than they do now. A months-long, all-star report recommending structural tax changes a couple of years ago landed in the statehouse with a resounding thud.