Spokane voters to face income tax proposition on November ballot

It’s illegal in the state of Washington to have a city income tax — Seattle tried to get around that earlier this year, but was denied.

Still, City Council candidate Michael Cathcart wants to avoid the chance of it ever happening in Spokane. Voters will get their chance to vote on a measure to prohibit an income tax in Spokane.

“We felt like this was an opportunity to get ahead of the game and actually put a prohibition on our city charter, that says not only are we not going to have a city income tax, but we’re actually going to go as far as ban it,” Cathcart said.

Along with the possibility of never allowing an income tax in Spokane, Cathcart believes it would bring some economic opportunity to Spokane.

“It actually is a great tool for our community, because now we can go to those employers on the other side of the state who’ve got really good paying jobs and say ‘Hey, open an office in Spokane,”Cathcart said.

Not everyone agrees with the measure.

Mayoral candidate and current City Council President Ben Stuckart said he opposes the measure.

“It’s illegal by state law for the city to do it, and nobody I’ve ever met in Spokane says we should have an income tax in the city of Spokane,” Stuckart said. “That’s really a solution looking for a problem.”

Breean Beggs, a city council president candidate, echoed that same message.

He said some people believe passing this measure would prevent a utility tax but said if that were to happen then issues would rise.

“The utility tax really funds a big part of the city’s infrastructure and sewer, and if that were to come about that would be a disaster for us,” Beggs said. “I think it’s too risky and I’m not for it.”