Washington voters are voting to repeal new tax laws by wide margins for the second straight year.
By law, the state is required to hold nonbinding advisory votes on all tax increases not approved by voters.
Advisory votes made their way onto Washington ballots after voters approved a measure in 2007 that was backed by anti-tax activist Tim Eyman.
The measure was originally far-reaching, with the requirement that any proposed tax increase in the state legislature be passed with a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate.
Its scope was narrowed by the state Supreme Court to include only advisory votes and the requirement that each lawmaker’s vote on a bill that raises taxes or fees be made public.
All of the tax bills in this year’s advisory votes are thrown out by double-digit margins.
They include advisory vote 36 on a telephone tax to support a suicide prevention line (loss of 13 points) and advisory vote 38 to impose a tax on premiums collected by certain insurance companies (loss of 19 points).
The most controversial advisory vote in this year’s election concerns a new law to impose a 7% tax on capital gains that earn more than $250,000 in profits.
It’s known as the 37 advisory vote, which deals with asset sales like bonds and stocks, and loses about 26 points.
The law has been a longtime priority for Democrats and is fiercely opposed by Republicans.
It will come into effect in January and will impact 2023 tax filings.
The law is being legally challenged in Douglas County by a group of big business owners and the Washington Farm Bureau, who claim it imposes income tax unconstitutionally.
Efforts by the state to have the case dismissed or transferred to a court in Olympia have failed and the case is now on trial.
The official results of the advisory votes, like all contests in this year’s election, will not be finalized for some time.