Washington state legislators, struggling to fill a huge budget gap, are officially considering the enactment of an income tax. The tax would only apply to "high earners", specifically those with income of over $500,000 for single filers, and over $1 million for married couples. Although the tax would be a mere 1% and would affect only a tiny fraction of state residents, the Governor has come out in opposition to the idea.
Nonetheless, talk of raising revenue in a progressive manner is especially encouraging coming from Washington state, where the idea of enacting an income tax has traditionally been greeted with hostility. As numerouseconomists have pointed out, raising taxes on more fortunate state residents is the best way to prevent cuts in the state services needed most during an economic downturn. Washington joins Illinois,Wisconsin,New York, Connecticut, and Delaware as states where progressive income tax increases have received serious attention.
For more on this topic, see the Economic Opportunity Institute's recent op-ed on "high incomes" taxes.