Capital gains income tax supporters set up surveillance system for I-1929 petition gatherers
May 5, 2022
Proponents of the unconstitutional capital gains income tax are working overtime to prevent voters from weighing in. First, there was the game last year with the emergency clause to prevent a referendum. Now capital gains income tax supporters are gearing up to counter a potential I-1929 signature gathering campaign by setting up a surveillance system to report any ballot petition signing locations. As reported by the Everett Herald:
“Should I-1929 petitions get circulated, opponents won’t be sitting idly by. They set up a hotline Thursday that people can call to report where they see signature-gatherers at work. It’s possible they may deploy people to those sites to provide a visual and verbal counterpoint.
‘We are going to make it as expensive and uncomfortable for them as possible,’ said Heather Weiner, a spokeswoman for Invest in Washington Now, which is part of a coalition of opposition groups. ‘We will not interfere with them. We also want to make sure people have the facts.’”
The Washington State Democratic Party is among those encouraging the I-1929 signature gathering surveillance reporting. Tina Podlodowski, Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, tweeted out the I-1929 signature reporting hotline yesterday.
The Northwest Progressive Institute also said in a blog post yesterday:
“If you see a petitioner collecting signatures for this measure, please take photos with your phone and let us know using Permanent Defense’s reporting system.”
When asked yesterday by the Everett Herald after the I-1929 ballot title challenge hearing was completed when I-1929 petitions will be available for signatures the campaign said: “We don’t comment on that.”
For I-1929 to qualify for the ballot, signatures of at least 324,516 (405,000 recommended) registered voters are due no later than 5:00 pm on July 8, 2022.
Washington voters have rejected 10 straight ballot measures supporting an income tax (including six constitutional amendments).
Regardless of the outcome with I-1929, an Inslee appointed judge in Douglas County Superior Court on March 1 ruled that the capital gains income tax adopted last year (SB 5096) is an unconstitutional graduated income tax. We likely won’t know until sometime this summer if the state Supreme Court plans to take this case under direct review, or instead will do the same thing it did a few years ago with the illegal Seattle income tax and allow the Court of Appeals to act instead.
-Mercier is the Center for Government Reform Director for the Washington Policy Center Tri-Cities branch.