Opinion: Battle Ground City Council unanimously approves local income tax ban

Battle Ground becomes the fourth city in Washington to officially go on the record against a local income tax

Jason Mercier
Washington Policy Center

Jason Mercier
Jason Mercier

The Battle Ground City Council last night unanimously adopted a resolution in opposition to a local income tax (Resolution Number 21-07). This brings the number of cities officially going on record against a local income tax to four with Battle Ground joining Spokane, Granger and Spokane Valley. The Mayor of Yakima also recently indicated she plans to ask her city council to forward a local income tax ban charter amendment to the ballot for voters to consider like occurred in Spokane in 2019.  

Here is what Battle Ground Mayor Adrian E. Cortes said last night after the city council approved the resolution:

“Tonight was a big win for our community. Our council voted unanimously to pass a local income tax ban resolution. In my opinion, while Seattle and Olympia try to go against what the framers of the Washington State constitution intended, we are standing firm in our opposition to a local income tax thus reaffirming our competitive advantage of no local income taxes in the city of Battle Ground.”

Battle Ground becomes the fourth city in Washington to officially go on the record against a local income tax.
File photo.

The resolution declares (see page 58 of council packet):

“The City Council hereby declares that the imposition of a local income tax on the businesses and residents of the City of Battle Ground is prohibited. Such a tax would be in direct conflict with the high value the City places on promoting economic development through the attraction and expansion of financially healthy, family wage-paying employers. Small businesses are the backbone of our local, regional, state, and national economy and it is imperative that the City not put unnecessary hurdles in the way of their success. As such, the Battle Ground City Council prohibits the imposition of a local income tax in the event a local income tax is determined legal and permissible by the Washington State Supreme Court or the Washington State Legislature.”

The lack of an income tax has long been advertised by the State Department of Commerce as being a “competitive advantage” for Washington. State voters have also made it consistently clear they don’t want an income tax.

Despite this, the legislature this year narrowly adopted an unconstitutional income tax on capital gains. While the battle moves forwards to overturn the illegal capital gains income tax, expect to see more cities follow the lead of Battle Ground, Spokane, Granger and Spokane Valley in making it clear to their businesses and citizens that there is no interest to impose a local income tax.

Which city will be next?

Jason Mercier is the director for the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center.

This opinion piece was produced and first published by the Washington Policy Center. It is published here with the permission of and full attribution to the Washington Policy Center. 


  1. TMaxcy

    Isn’t it true that the Washington State sales rax was implemented in 1935, but the framers of the Washington State Constitution created that document in 1889?


    The fact that a city or local income tax is even under consideration is a sure sign of future plans to raise just such a tax, with or without the will of the people, but definitely with extra enforcements and safeguards to ensure that once raised, the tax will never be lowered or repealed as long as the world stands — or at least for as long as city hall remains in existence as a form of government in the United States.

  3. Chris

    Lots of misinformation from an extreme right wing policy wonk.

    This “income tax” is actually a capital gains tax. If you don’t know the difference, it won’t matter to you.

    If you have capital gains exceeding a very high threshold, very high like in millions, you will pay a little more in tax. This is not an hourly or salary worker tax.


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