All men are created equal... Balance The Tax Code!
All men are created equal... Balance The Tax Code! (Artwork on the grounds of the Washington State Capitol Campus, photographed by Balance Our Tax Code)

Leg­is­la­tion that would final­ly levy a state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy in Wash­ing­ton State is on the cusp of reach­ing Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s desk.

By a vote of fifty two to forty-four, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed to adopt a final ver­sion of the bill (ESSB 5096) that was nego­ti­at­ed by a con­fer­ence com­mit­tee con­sist­ing of three state rep­re­sen­ta­tives and three state senators.

All that is now need­ed is a cor­re­spond­ing vote in the Sen­ate, and then the bill — one of the most impor­tant and con­se­quen­tial pro­gres­sive tax reform pro­pos­als in state his­to­ry — will be on its way to Gov­er­nor Inslee’s desk at last.

The roll call was as follows:

Roll Call
SB 5096
Cap­i­tal gains tax
Final Pas­sage as rec­om­mend­ed by the Con­fer­ence Committee

Yeas: 52; Nays: 44; Excused: 2

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Bate­man, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Callan, Chopp, Cody, Davis, Dolan, Duerr, Enten­man, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Frame, Good­man, Gregerson, Hack­ney, Hansen, Har­ris-Tal­ley, John­son, Kir­by, Klo­ba, Lekanoff, Lovick, Macri, Mor­gan, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Peter­son, Pol­let, Ramel, Ramos, Ric­cel­li, Ryu, San­tos, Sells, Senn, Shew­make, Sim­mons, Slat­ter, Springer, Stonier, Sul­li­van, Tay­lor, Thai, Tharinger, Valdez, Walen, Wicks, Wylie, Jinkins

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Abbarno, Barkis, Boehnke, Bronoske, Caldier, Cham­bers, Chan­dler, Chap­man, Chase, Cor­ry, Dent, Dufault, Dye, Eslick, Gil­day, Goehn­er, Gra­ham, Grif­fey, Har­ris, Hoff, Jacob­sen, Klick­er, Klip­pert, Kraft, Kretz, Leav­itt, MacEwen, May­cum­ber, McCaslin, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Paul, Rude, Rule, Schmick, Steele, Stokes­bary, Suther­land, Vick, Volz, Walsh, Wilcox, Ybar­ra, Young

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives McEn­tire, Robertson

Two Repub­li­cans did not par­tic­i­pate in the vote. The rest vot­ed no, along with the same five Demo­c­ra­t­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tives who vot­ed against the bill ear­li­er this week: Mari Leav­itt, Dan Bronoske, Dave Paul, Ali­cia Rule, and Mike Chapman.

The oth­er fifty-two Demo­c­ra­t­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed aye.

Leav­itt, Bronoske, Paul, Rule, and Chap­man all rep­re­sent dis­tricts that, in their cur­rent incar­na­tion, are wide­ly con­sid­ered swing dis­tricts. As their votes were not need­ed to pass the bill, no pro­gres­sive activist should be upset that they vot­ed no. What is impor­tant is that this final­ly got done, at least on the House side.

As men­tioned, there is only one step left in the leg­isla­tive process before the bill leaves the Leg­is­la­ture and heads to the gov­er­nor’s office for bill action, and that’s the Sen­ate vote on adop­tion of the con­fer­ence com­mit­tee report.

Pre­sum­ing the same twen­ty-five sen­a­tors who pre­vi­ous­ly vot­ed for the bill do so again, NPI’s top leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ty will have received a total of four affir­ma­tive floor votes pri­or to Sine Die (the final adjourn­ment at the end of session).

It’s hard to put into words how elat­ed we feel right now.

We are so, so, so close to a major pro­gres­sive tax reform vic­to­ry in Wash­ing­ton State. Near­ly three in five Wash­ing­to­ni­ans sup­port levy­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy to ben­e­fit pri­or­i­ties like edu­ca­tion, accord­ing to our research. We have been ask­ing about levy­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy for six straight years, and we’ve always found a robust major­i­ty in support.

Kudos to Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors for final­ly mak­ing this hap­pen. We have one more vote to go, and then this wor­thy leg­is­la­tion will be in Gov­er­nor Inslee’s hands.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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