(The Center Square) – DuPont is now the ninth Washington city to ban local income taxes, bringing the total number of anti-tax municipalities up to ten.
DuPont joins Kennewick, Richland, Battle Ground, Granger, Moses Lake. Spokane, Spokane Valley, Union Gap and Yakima County in passing similar resolutions prohibiting the imposition of an income tax on individuals or businesses. Residents in the city of Yakima will vote on a similar proposal in next month’s election.
“Such a tax would be in direct conflict with the high value the city places on promoting economic development through the attraction and expansion of financially healthy, family wage paying employers,” said the DuPont City Council’s resolution. “Small businesses are the backbone of our local, regional, state, and national economy and it is imperative that the city not put unnecessary hurdles in the way of their success. As such, the DuPont City Council prohibits the imposition of a local income tax in the event a local income tax is determined legal and permissible by the Washington State Supreme Court or the Washington State Legislature.”
The Washington State Supreme Court in April of 2020 denied an attempt by Seattle to impose an income tax. The Seattle city council in 2017 voted in favor of a 2.25% tax on individuals earning more than $250,000 and couples earning more than $500,000.
Estimates at the time predicted the city would collect about $40 million per year from the levy.
The King County Superior Court and the State Court of Appeals voted against the tax ad the Supreme Court refused a request by the city to hear its appeal. The courts agreed that income is considered to be property and the state constitution mandates that property must be taxed evenly.
The Supreme Court, however, did let stand an appellate court decision last year that overturned a 1984 law prohibiting taxes on net income. The move opened the door for cities to impose a 1% income tax.
In an editorial last month, the Tri-City Herald called on more municipalities to ban income taxes.
“If enough individual communities rise up against just the idea of an income tax, perhaps lawmakers will stop trying to force the issue and instead focus on other tax reforms that would be more acceptable to the general public,” the paper wrote.
Legislators also earlier this year approved a law that imposes a 7% tax on long-term capital gains above $250,000.
A Douglas County Superior Court judge ruled last month that a lawsuit against the measure could move forward. The case is expected to eventually end up before the state Supreme Court.