State Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, released a statement on Friday criticizing the ruling by the Washington state Supreme Court in Quinn v. State upholding the capital gains tax passed by the Legislature in 2022.
Calling the ruling in Quinn v. State “contrary to overwhelming evidence that (the capital gains tax) is a graduated income tax,” Braun said he disagreed with the court’s decision to categorize the tax as an excise tax.
“Washington is the outlier. Every other state and the IRS say that a capital gains tax is, without a doubt, an income tax. The good news is that the Court did not overturn the 1930s ruling that a state income tax is unconstitutional. We are still protected from that, for now,” Braun said.
According to Braun, Democrats have a “strong appetite” for a state income tax, which the Supreme Court’s ruling will contribute to. Braun said the voters have rejected an income tax 11 times and if Democrats listened to the public they would cut government spending and lower taxes.
“Democrats often claim that any capital gains income tax, or future state income tax, would only affect the ultra-rich. But if they succeed in passing a full income tax after this, we will see it expand to apply to the middle class as well. Democrats sponsored a bill this session that would have expanded this capital gains tax already, and they haven’t even collected a dime of it yet,” Braun said.