Spokane's Prop 2 Would Forbid Local Income Tax

Oct 21, 2019

Credit Better Spokane

Spokane city voters are asked to cast a pre-emptive strike against a local income tax. Proposition 2 appears on the November general election ballot.

Its sponsor is Michael Cathcart, a city council candidate in the Northeast district and executive director of the political group Better Spokane.

“The state appeals court recently ruled that Seattle can implement an income tax. The version that they had implemented was not legal, but they specifically said that they could still do a different version of it, which means so could we, or any other community in Washington state," Cathcart said.

He says Proposition 2 would apply not only to individual income taxes, but also capital gains and business and occupation taxes.

A local income tax, he believes, would put Spokane at a competitive disadvantage in terms of recruiting businesses.

“If we can go out and start marketing ourselves to employers to say, ‘Look, unlike Seattle, who has implemented an income tax, we’ve actually gone the other route and said, ‘No income tax. No B&O here. So come to Spokane. We want your good-paying jobs here,'' Cathcart said. "I think it creates a good opportunity for us as a marketing tool, but it’s also a taxpayer protection tool just because people know that they’re not going to be taxed.”

He says he hasn’t heard anyone push for a local income tax in Spokane.

Proposition 2 needs only a simple majority vote to be approved. And, he said, it could be overridden by a simple majority vote in a future election.