Don't trust Governor Christine Gregoire's word that she'd veto attempts to lower the $200,000 income tax threshhold proposed under Initiative 1098? Over in Electionland, the Economic Opportunity Institute (EOI) nails down the reasons why the legislature won't move from taxing the state's wealthiest residents to taxing the middle class:
There are three reasons why I-1098 will remain a tax only on high incomes:
First: legislators have shown zero political will to even entertain the notion of an income tax in the recent past, let alone jump off a political cliff by voting to expand one. An income tax bill is introduced practically every legislative session. It goes nowhere. Even in the face of massive revenue shortfalls caused by the recession over the past 3 years, legislators voted for far more cuts ($5.2 billion worth) than tax increases ($800 million worth), and the latter were on soda, bottled water, candy and gum — hardly far-reaching or bold measures.
Second: Even if the legislature found the collective political will to amend I-1098, Washington’s initiative process means it’s unlikely that decision would go unchallenged. (In fact, that’s exactly what’s happening with the aforementioned taxes on soda/water/candy/gum.) That alone changes the political calculus for any elected official considering voting for changes to I-1098.
Third: When the challenged measure shows up on the ballot, voters would have to approve it. Just imagine trying to convince a majority of Washington voters to expand a progressive tax on the wealthy down to cover themselves and an already struggling middle class. It’s unlikely to happen, to put it mildly.
There is simply very little political will in the legislature to raise taxes — which is why citizens have had to take matters into their own hands with Initiative 1098. And in the end, Washington voters will have the last word.
To weigh in on the issue, go here.