NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, January 24th, 2024

Initiative 2111 (prohibiting fair taxation based on ability to pay) gets certified

The fifth of six sub­mit­ted ini­tia­tives to the 2024 Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture spon­sored by Repub­li­can State Par­ty Chair Jim Walsh and fund­ed by right wing mul­ti­mil­lion­aire Bri­an Hey­wood was cer­ti­fied today, which means it is des­tined for the Novem­ber 2024 bal­lot for approval or rejec­tion by voters.

Although Wash­ing­ton State does not cur­rent­ly levy an income tax, Ini­tia­tive 2111 nev­er­the­less seeks to pro­hib­it the state and its local­i­ties from levy­ing one. It also attempts to sig­nif­i­cant­ly broad­en the def­i­n­i­tion of what an income tax is to lay the ground­work for future right wing legal chal­lenges to exist­ing state tax­es. That could jeop­ar­dize fund­ing for paid fam­i­ly and med­ical leave in Wash­ing­ton as well as edu­ca­tion and long-term care, mak­ing I‑2111 poten­tial­ly very destructive.

Accord­ing to the Sec­re­tary of State’s Elec­tions Divi­sion, 26,763 pages of sig­na­tures were received for I‑2081, con­tain­ing 448,158  lines.

324,516 valid sig­na­tures are cur­rent­ly required to qual­i­fy a statewide initiative.

Ini­tia­tive 2111 had a suf­fi­cient cush­ion of extra sig­na­tures to qual­i­fy for a ran­dom sam­ple check as allowed by state law, which con­sist­ed of 13,445 signatures.

Of those, 10,868 were accept­ed and 2,577 were reviewed. 2,566 sig­na­tures were deter­mined to be invalid, and eleven were deter­mined to be duplicate.

Sec­re­tary Hobbs today trans­mit­ted a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion mes­sage to the Leg­is­la­ture affixed with the state seal, advis­ing of I‑2111’s qualification.

Leg­isla­tive staff have giv­en I‑2111 its own bill-style page on leg.wa.gov.

The bal­lot title for I‑2111 is as follows:

Ini­tia­tive Mea­sure No. 2111 con­cerns taxes.

This mea­sure would pro­hib­it the state, coun­ties, cities, and oth­er local juris­dic­tions from impos­ing or col­lect­ing income tax­es, defined as hav­ing the same mean­ing as “gross income” in the Inter­nal Rev­enue Code.

Should this mea­sure be enact­ed into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

The sum­ma­ry is as follows:

This mea­sure would pro­hib­it the state, coun­ties, cities, and oth­er local juris­dic­tions from impos­ing or col­lect­ing income tax­es, defined as hav­ing the same mean­ing as “gross income” in the Inter­nal Rev­enue Code.

The def­i­n­i­tion of gross income in fed­er­al law is found at 26 U.S. Code § 61:

(a) Gen­er­al definition

Except as oth­er­wise pro­vid­ed in this sub­ti­tle, gross income means all income from what­ev­er source derived, includ­ing (but not lim­it­ed to) the fol­low­ing items:

  1. Com­pen­sa­tion for ser­vices, includ­ing fees, com­mis­sions, fringe ben­e­fits, and sim­i­lar items;
  2. Gross income derived from business;
  3. Gains derived from deal­ings in property;
  4. Inter­est;
  5. Rents;
  6. Roy­al­ties;
  7. Div­i­dends;
  8. Annu­ities;
  9. Income from life insur­ance and endow­ment contracts;
  10. Pen­sions;
  11. Income from dis­charge of indebtedness;
  12. Dis­trib­u­tive share of part­ner­ship gross income;
  13. Income in respect of a dece­dent; and
  14. Income from an inter­est in an estate or trust.

(b) Cross references

For items specif­i­cal­ly includ­ed in gross income, see part II (sec. 71 and fol­low­ing). For items specif­i­cal­ly exclud­ed from gross income, see part III (sec. 101 and following).

Leg­is­la­tors have three choic­es as to how to respond to I‑2111:

  • Do noth­ing, in which case it goes to voters
  • Adopt the mea­sure into law
  • Send it to the Novem­ber 2024 bal­lot with an alternative

NPI oppos­es Ini­tia­tive 2111 and is work­ing for the mea­sure’s defeat. Because the chances of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled Leg­is­la­ture approv­ing I‑2111 are pret­ty much nonex­is­tent, it will be get­ting for­ward­ed auto­mat­i­cal­ly to the bal­lot, as men­tioned above. NPI’s Stop Greed project is urg­ing a no vote on I‑2111; if you’d like to sup­port this effort, you can donate to Stop Greed here using Act­Blue.

We also invite you to join us in vot­ing NO on I‑2111 lat­er this year.

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