Eyman files new initiative to fend off state income and capital gains taxes

Tim Eyman files a new initiative in Olympia on Dec. 12, 2017 (KOMO Photo)

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Tax critic Tim Eyman is launching an effort to head off all attempts at a state income tax. He filed an initiative Tuesday that bans any future capital gains taxes and state income taxes.

It is an all-too-familiar scene as Eyman entered the Secretary of State's office to file an initiative. Some have succeeded. Many have failed. This time, he said, is different.

" 'We don't want an income tax' is going to be the most important and impactful initiative we've ever done," said Eyman.

In light of the Seattle city council trying to pass a tax on income, which was struck down by a judge, and in light of Democrat Manka Dhingra tipping the scales in the state Senate in favor of the Democrats, Eyman fears there will be a successful attempt to impose a capital gains tax on money made on the sale of stocks, bonds, certain property and other high-end financial assets.

It would be used to raise an additional $1 billion for education, required by the state Supreme Court.

"It's clear that in 2018 there's going to be a full court press by the Democrats and (Governor) Inslee to impose an income tax," Eyman said. "Especially a capital gains income tax and they're simply going to say 'we had to do it, the court ordered us to.' "

Democrats in the House and Senate and Inslee haven't said what, if any new taxes are going to be proposed.

Eyman said he doesn't like the idea of that capital gains to raise money for schools, but he doesn't have a solution as to where that money is going to come from.

"We have advocated all along they should use existing revenues as cost-effectively as possible," Eyman said. "That the court has no business ordering the legislature to do anything."

But Andrew Villenueve of the Northwest Progressive Institute counters that voters support a capital gains tax.

"We polled this year and we found that 57% of Washingtonians support a capital gains tax," he said.

Retired teacher Don Bunger says Eyman has decided the capital gains tax is the same an income tax, "and I think they're two different beasts."

Plus, Bunger said the capital gains tax would only affect 32,000 of the state's wealthiest individuals.

But Eyman contends once you start allowing a tax on capital gains, it would be an easy step to start taxing income.

Eyman admits that for administrative purposes, he'll have to re-file the initiative next month, but says by announcing it now gives him a head start on fund-raising and putting lawmakers on notice.

He said he'll start collecting the needed 350,000 signatures in February and if the measure qualifies, you'll see it on the November ballot.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off