Rep. Abbarno: Citizens should have a ‘say’ on an income tax. Bill passes House, 52-46, with Republicans voting no.

During House floor debate Tuesday night on amendments to Senate Bill 5096, the capital gains income tax, Rep. Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, asked why majority Democrats would prevent voters from seeking a referendum on the measure.

Abbarno was speaking in favor of Amendment 740, which would remove reference in the bill to the tax being “necessary for the support of state government and its existing public institutions.” Republicans believe the existing language in the bill would prevent voters from taking the measure to the ballot in the form of a referendum.

“What this is about is preventing my neighbors from having a say on an income tax. Because that’s what this is, right? It’s an income tax,” said Abbarno, an attorney, who also holds a master of laws in taxation degree from the University of Washington School of Law. “Such a monumental, historic day where this House is voting for an income tax and we’re going to prevent the people from having an opportunity to have a say?”

Democrats rejected the amendment by a vote of 47-51.

Debate on the bill was suspended at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday after lawmakers finished voting on 22 amendments, 20 of them offered by Republicans. Only one Republican amendment was accepted.

Listen to Rep. Abbarno’s speech. . .

On Wednesday afternoon, the House again took up the capital gains income tax measure, Senate Bill 5096, on third reading and final passage. During the 1 1/2 hour debate, Republicans argued the tax is unnecessary, unfair, unstable, unpopular and likely unconstitutional.

Abbarno noted it will be a larger burden on working families and senior citizens who will be denied the opportunity to have a voice in the state’s first income tax.

Watch Rep. Abbarno’s floor speech here. . .

The measure passed the House by a vote of 52-46. All Republicans and five Democrats voted no.


Washington State House Republican Communications
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