Senate Democrats pass income tax on capital gains

2021 legislative session • March 12, 2021

Washington State House Republicans

Dear Friend:

Despite bipartisan opposition and a strong fight from Republicans, Senate Democrats passed an income tax on capital gains on a 25-24 vote last Saturday. Senate Bill 5096 has been referred to the House Finance Committee where it will receive a hearing at 10 a.m. on Monday. 

House Republicans are united in opposition to this measure. We believe this new tax is:

  • Unnecessary. State tax collections are strong and more federal funding is on the way.
  • Unpopular. Washingtonians have told us several times they don't want an income tax and other new tax increases.
  • Likely unconstitutional based on past court decisions.
  • A major step toward a state income tax. 

We are not alone in our opposition. The proposal has been rejected by newspaper editorial boards across our state. We will keep you updated on this debate. 

Providing tax relief to working families 

We hear Democrats talk a lot about how regressive our state's tax system is, yet they have controlled Olympia for 30+ years. And there's no question that their low-carbon fuel standard mandate would increase the costs of gas and goods and hurt low-income families. 

If we want to make our state's tax system less regressive, we should provide tax relief for those who need it the most. The House Republican operating budget proposal would fund the Working Families Tax Credit and provide sales tax exemptions for necessities like prepared food, breast pumps, and diapers. And we would not increase taxes on anyone. 

Governor reveals Phase 3, announces K-12 education emergency proclamation   

After more than two months, the governor finally revealed Phase 3 of his reopening plan yesterday. It will begin on March 22, allow businesses to return to 50% capacity, and include a county-by-county evaluation approach.  

While the governor and his office criticized the Republican Open Safe, Open Now plan, elements of his Phase 3 reflect what Republicans proposed. However, our plan would have reopened businesses and schools earlier. The Washington Policy Center discusses the similarities and differences in this blog post

The governor also announced today he would issue an emergency proclamation that requires all K-12 schools to provide students with in-person learning opportunities by April 19. More details can be found here

You can find my statements on these two actions here: 

Reforming the governor's emergency powers  

The News Tribune editorial board had a compelling piece yesterday that discussed the governor's emergency powers. It said, in part: "In the long run, this isn’t about whether you agree or disagree with a particular governor. It’s about preserving a balanced, constitutionally sound government, where the public’s voice is carried by the 147 representatives and senators they elect." 

They are right. The Legislature needs to reform the governor's emergency powers so a proper balance is restored. This should not be a partisan issue. Republicans introduced House Bill 1029 to address this issue, but it did not advance. We need Democrats to come to the table. The well-being of our state demands collaboration on this issue. 

Good House Republican bills that passed

A total of 42 bills prime sponsored by House Republicans passed prior to house of origin cutoff on Tuesday. Here are some details on five of them. 

  • House Bill 1001 would establish a law enforcement professional development outreach grant program.
  • House Bill 1410 would protect taxpayers from home foreclosures.
  • House Bill 1137 would elevate road maintenance and preservation in transportation planning.
  • House Bill 1170 would provide a framework for the state to add 300,000 new manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years.
  • House Bill 1438 would expand eligibility for property tax exemptions for service-connected disabled veterans and senior citizens.

Thank you for reading. Next week, I will preview some of the big issues remaining in the homestretch of the legislative session. 


Rep. J.T. Wilcox
House Republican Leader
(360) 786-7912