It was the probability that income taxes in Washington would get only so far before the plug was pulled, as it was today by the Senate Democrats. The income tax - even this version applying only to those with annual income of a quarter-million dollars or more - is just a tough sell in Washington, and doesn't have "the legislative support to move forward at this point."
The immediate news article notes that the proposal is "politically risky," which makes the sponsorship interesting. The key figure behind it, and publicly, is Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, and at this point maybe the single most likely entrant into the 2012 gubernatorial race.
That suggests the issue won't go away, and Brown's comment on the subject from a couple of weeks ago suggests the form it might take.
Opponents to a modest income tax on the most affluent in our state have been vocal and vociferous. Because they can’t argue about what the proposal is, they focus on the specter of what it might become. In the past, this has been a prescription for the status quo, preserving a tax system that is more unstable and less fair than the people of Washington deserve.
Fortunately, there are also those rising to voice support. I have heard in recent days from religious leaders and representatives of higher education faculty as well as from individual citizens from all over the state, who are pleased that this conversation is taking place.
In the end, I predict that any proposal, whether this session or in the future, will go to voters. I hope and trust that with an open dialogue about the modest costs to those who can afford them and the tremendous benefits to everyone else, that common sense and the common good will prevail.
Will the income tax actually be a major piece of the debate in 2012?