Olympia To Consider Income Tax

May 18, 2016

Olympia could become the first city in Washington to charge an income tax.

Voters there might see two income tax measures on their ballot this fall.

A group of Olympia citizens is pushing for an income tax, which prompted the city council to write its own proposal.

The money would help the city's high school graduates move on to higher education. It also would pay for a year of community college, or a small stipend for in-state universities.

The group Opportunity for Olympia is collecting signatures for a ballot measure.

Danielle Westbrook is the campaign manager.

"Actually right now one in six Olympia voters has signed the petition. This would be a great thing for our kids," Westbrook said.

The initiative would impose a 1.5 percent tax on any household income over $200,000.

Some city leaders support the idea, but think the tax should apply to all households. They have voted to write up an income tax resolution in time for the ballot.

Council member Nathaniel Jones proposed the idea.

"If we as Olympians value education, then we as Olympians, all Olympians, need to participate in the financing," Jones said.

Three council members who remain against the tax question whether it's the city's role to pay for higher education. They also say the measure would invite court challenges.

Copyright 2016 KUOW