Washington Is Coming Very Close to Taxing the Rich Eventually, Probably, Depending on a Few Things



I wonder what financial asset couldn't be trimmed to $249,999.99 and the remainder sold the following year to avoid the tax.


Rich does an admirable job of trying to spin this but for anyone paying the slightest bit of attention two things are abundantly clear. One, the necessity clause is absolutely inserted to avoid a popular vote because the legislature knows this is a deeply unpopular tax. They can spin all they want but this is absolutely an income tax and voters have overwhelming voted against them time and time again. Second, this has nothing to do with the necessary running of the government. These are new programs and now that Biden has sent a bunch of money to WA state there is barely a budget shortfall. No this is wholly designed, as evidenced by Sen Pederson’s email, to trigger a court challenge and allow the court to overturn their prohibition on a progressive income tax.

The sad part is the legislature has it in their power to do this correctly Instead of pulling these bullshit shenanigans. Vote in a constitutional amendment to allow for progressive taxation. If they are so confident this is the right thing and the people support it than do It the right way instead of legislative sleight of hand and using the courts.


"After hours of debate Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon" - I assume that should be Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. Can't blame anyone who's reporting on Olympia for being slightly screwy right now.


@1 your house.

OK if we take your porch and garage?


As long as Rich has to pay more tax too, I'm fine with this. With Rich it's always other people need to pay more taxes, but never himself.


@1 It's likely simpler than that, the legislation only applies to "individuals," defined as a natural person, so you merely need to transfer assets to a business entity (assuming you hadn't already made such arrangements).

@4 Real estate is exempt.


@What is your point?

This applies to extremely wealthy people, where $250K in gains is trivial. Imagine you have $100 million in gains. You can sell off less than the limit, and enjoy that money by spreading it out over 4,000 years. Yeah, great plan.

That is why this doesn't really apply to normal people. The limit is so high, that even well to do folks can pretty much ignore it. Let's say you set $25,000 a year aside, above and beyond your 401K and IRA. It has done quite well, and is now worth $3 million as you retire. Two million of that is capital gains. You are loaded. Between your house (now paid off), your IRA and 401K, you have assets of over ten million dollars. But remember, you have 2 million in capital gains in mutual funds. It doesn't matter what the state taxes are, you are going to spread that out. You would spread out the gains for federal tax reasons. It would be crazy to have one year with a huge amount of money, and the next year with nothing. Depending on your life style and other assets, $200,000 a year would actually be very aggressive -- many would just spend $100 grand a year for 20 years.


@6 -- I'm pretty sure the IRS would frown on you creating a fake company to avoid paying taxes (whether state or federal).


Why is it so intolerable to ask the Gates', the Schultz's. the Bezoses to accept that they owe this society SOMETHING- that they have some obligation to pay back all of the massive economic freebies they've been given just to set up shop here?

Bill Gates Sr. called for the rich to pay their fair share- if he was ok with it, why shouldn't everybody else here?

It's not as though we have no choice but to treat the 1% as though they are gods who walk the earth- and there's nothing any of them have done that we couldn't have found or couldn't yet find the way to do without them.

It's ridiculous to think we could only have a good latte if the lattemaker is exempt from having to contribute to the upkeep of a decent community

It's absurd to think the only way we could get packages delivered on time is for the delivery service to so sharply restrict bathroom breaks-but only for the drivers and the warehouse crew; the Bald One can do #1 or #2 anytime or anywhere he wants.

And anybody could have set up a place to build the operating system Bill Gates sells-but did not personally invent.

The rest of us do not to be vassals to such people.


@5 How do you know if Rich is willing to pay more in taxes or not? Where did he ever say he wasn't? Link to that statement.

But I suppose you're using Rich as a proxy for all liberals.

Well. How about use me?

I make (made pre-pandemic, anyway) a healthy living. I'm for these tax increases. And I want the state to raise my taxes if it means paying for shit I want paid for.

There. Satisfied? So. Now clearly you're for these taxes, right?


@10: Didn't plan enough to invest wisely and even make money doing the pandemic. Pity.


@9 I have yet to meet anyone who is opposed to the super wealthy paying taxes but that doesn't mean there isn't numerous issues with what the legislature is currently doing and how they are doing it. First, they continually claim we need a capitol gains/income tax to reduce regressive taxes and make WA's tax code more fair. Yet every time this proposal comes up there is nothing to reduce other regressive taxes like sales and property tax. The funds for this iteration are primarily going to new programs. Second, there is no trust in the legislature not to lower the threshold for this tax in the future the next time they "need" money. Many people view this, and rightly so, as an opening gambit that will eventually lead to most people paying this tax as well as a means to an end to instituting a broad based income tax. The fact that they are slipping in clauses to make it referendum proof doesn't really help their credibility either. Third, there is no proof having an income tax will make WA any better or more progressive. States like CA, IL, NY, NJ all have high income, property and sales taxes and how is that really working out for them? CA and NY will most likely lose a congressional seat due to population flight. Lastly, but certainly not entirely, giving money to the government to spend is one of the most inefficient uses of capitol. Government has no incentive to use money wisely which is why you end up with boondoggles like the Pronto Bike or sidewalks that cost $1M a mile. In this case again there isn't even defined programs. it's all going to some nebulous child care program.

If the legislature was serious about this and wanted to act in good faith they would due a few things. They would have a defined plan on how they were going to use the money that included both reductions in regressive taxes and funding for programs with defined success metrics that would demonstrate how it would impact the public good. They would then put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to allow for progressive taxation and make their case to the people that this is the best thing for the state of WA. But they won't because this is all a steaming pile of bullshit that is just meant to give them more money to burn like the McClearly decision. You remember that one where we are had our property taxes jacked up 50% to adquately fund eduction? Last time I checked eduction was still piss poor and the Seattle School District is actually limiting educational opportunities for kids (advanced classes) in the name of equity. So excuse me if I remain skeptical of what is really happening here regardless of what Jeff Bezos is or isn't paying.


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Damn! I was so happy when newly elected Washington State Representative Alicia Rule, D-Blaine,-42nd District, beat out LuAnne Van Werven. Instead, I now have the feeling that Rule is only a DINO who actually votes RepubliKKKan--like Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon.


Taxing the rich is a great idea if you can get them to pay their taxes in the first place, let alone any additional capital gains or estate tax. Trump, who will hopefully get cornholed in prison for tax evasion if the New York Attorney General has his way, has been underpaying his taxes for years, and in fact may have been receiving a refund. Then you have the tax laundering methods of claiming excessive business losses and moving assets offshore. The best tax code would be progressive, that is impose more taxes on the wealthy and have the tax rate taper off as yearly income decreases, with a floor at around 25K per year, so folks don't have to live in the streets and use the public restrooms for sponge bathing. Part of the problem is that rich folks help develop the tax code, so it tends to favor their temporal financial needs. Also, let's stop auditing poor folks, who have enough trouble making ends meet without Uncle Sam shoving his thumb up their cabooses and wiggling it. Pollysexual promises to keep these postings brief so those of you who are hanging upside down from the ceiling in your gravity boots and flogging it don't become aphasiac and have trouble with reading and comprehension. At any rate, Eyman and Trump should be brutally molested in federal prison for tax evasion and the tax code should be more accommodating to those less fortunate.


@12 - I can't speak for NY, but CA's property tax is regressive as fuck. Your property is not reassessed for taxes as long as you own it, which means that new homeowners (mostly younger people and likely less affluent) foot the bill for everyone else. Their income tax, on the other hand, is extremely progressive.


@16 According to the study that everyone loves to quote to lambast WA, CA is the most progressive state in the union when it comes to taxation: https://itep.org/whopays

Property taxes tend to be meh when they calculate a state's tax structure. Sales tax / Income tax have a much bigger impact which is why in their estimation states with no income tax are the most regressive (TX, FL, WA). The point still remains that having a "progressive" structure doesn't equate to tax fairness nor good outcomes. You still have to have governance that is effective and invests that money in programs/services that produce good outcomes and/or spur economic development. I continue to have little faith we would see such results out of our electeds.


A reminder: in the 1920s, everything here was done exactly as the Washington State GOP wants it done once again.

The result was The Great Depression. That's what deregulation, the crushing of unions, and a taxfree existence for the rich will pretty much always lead to. We saw this movie before. Why ever watch it again?