Protesters work to prop up an elephant they are inflating on the Capitol Rotunda floor as part of a call for a state income tax.
OLYMPIA — As legislative leaders sweated the small stuff on the operating budget and other members awaited word of a deal, protesters called for something that isn't really on anyone's radar screen right now.
A progressive income tax for the state.
Members of the Backbone Campaign draped a banner for a state income tax over the fourth floor railing and chanted while others worked to inflate a large elephant on the rotunda floor. The sign on the side of the elephant, readable once it got nearly to full inflate: “Progressive Income Tax.”
While a proposal for a state income tax gets introduced by someone almost every year, there was no serious discussion of such a tax this year as legislators struggled with the budget. An initiative for an income tax on the wealthy was defeated in 2010, and several times before that, reaching back to the 1930s.
“Somebody's got to have the guts to talk abour real reform,” Bill Moyer, of Vashion Island, co-founder and director of the Backbone Campaign, said. Legislators should “stretch the boundaries of what the perceive is politically possible.”