Columnist raises question: Will Sen. Palumbo’s resignation put capital gains tax in play in 2020?

After increasing spending 18.3 percent and raising taxes more than $1 billion, would lawmakers really consider a capital gains tax in 2020 election-year session?


Everett Herald columnist and political reporter Jerry Cornfield considers the likelihood in the wake of Sen. Guy Palumbo’s resignation from the state Senate. 

The resignation of Guy Palumbo from the state Senate gives progressive Democratic lawmakers a clearer path to a capital gains tax, one of the few political peaks they failed to summit in the 2019 session.

Will they take it is a question to be mulled these next few months.

Who succeeds him, obviously, matters.

… Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, announced Tuesday he wants to fill the seat in the 1st District. If he gets the gig — and he’s a favorite — it changes the equation.

Stanford, a data science consultant, is not averse to a capital gains tax which House Democrats have put out there a few times in his five terms, including this year.

Cornfield considers the dynamics, including a special election in another senate district.

Palumbo’s departure also could add this controversial tax to the mix of a special legislative contest this November.

State Sen. Liz Lovelett, D-Anacortes, is seeking to keep the 40th District seat to which she was appointed earlier this year. She’s all in on this potential source of revenue. She co-sponsored a capital gains tax that received a hearing in the the Senate Ways and Means Committee but was never a threat of being voted on.

While it’s hard to believe that lawmakers would again consider an unpopular, highly volatile capital gains tax, progressive legislators and pundits have said they’re disappointed the tax did not figure in the final budget. Favored by House Democrats and the governor, the tax was still being discussed in the final days of the session.

In his earlier story on Palumbo’s resignation, Cornfield reported the views of Andrew Villeneuve, founder and ED of the Northwest Progressive Institute. .

[Villeneuve] chided [Palumbo] for … not supporting reforms of the tax system including establishing a capital gains tax.

With the capital gains tax seen by many as an attempt to get the state Supreme Court to reconsider the constitutionality of a personal income tax, proponents may just be tempted to push it again in the election year.

There will be pressure.