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Washington State’s Conservative Rollback

Democrats and Republicans join hands against income taxes and other progressive mistakes.

That’s good news for residents who have experienced the harmful side effects of progressive policies. In 2021 lawmakers restricted police officers’ ability to pursuesuspects in vehicles on grounds that car theft is merely a property crime. Motor vehicle theft in the state increased 73% between 2019 and 2022, according to Washington state House Republicans.

The Washington state constitution forbids a graduated income tax, but last year Democrats in the Legislature approved a tax on capital-gains income, claiming it’s an excise tax. The state Supreme Court upheld the tax, 7-2, and this week’s initiative is an attempt to placate angry voters.

The initiatives are half of a slate of six that were initiated by citizens who gathered signatures and had the measures certified by the secretary of state in January. Under Washington state rules, when a voter initiative is approved by the Legislature, it is enacted without requiring approval from the Governor. The remaining three, including efforts to repeal the capital-gains tax and end cap-and-trade climate regulation, will go before voters in November.

The measures gathered 800,000 signatures, so it’s no wonder they passed the Legislature with strong bipartisan support. The parents’ right-to-know measure was unanimously approved in the state Senate and both other measures drew double digit yeas from Democrats in both state houses.

That’s election year realism. On Saturday the Cascadia Advocate, a publication of the Northwest Progressive Institute, made the case that progressives should support the initiatives and live to fight another day.

Democrats should vote to adopt the measures, the publication wrote, because doing so “eliminates an organizing and mobilizing opportunity for the right wing in the coming presidential election, because these measures won’t get considered by voters.”

At least they’re honest.

Original posted on 3/7/24 – WSJ Opinion