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Gov. Inslee says income tax not part of a plan to fund COVID relief

(Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Gov. Inslee says he’s working with state legislators to find more relief for not just restaurants, but for small businesses. The challenge will be in how to pay for the relief packages.

The governor told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross that he remains hopeful for a relief package from Congress because “that’s where flexibility exists to do big things, multi-billion dollar things.”

“While we are looking for help for the businesses, in my book we have to think about the employees with equal respect,” Inslee said.

He reminded Ross that many workers are going to lose unemployment at the end of the year.

The governor said they need to work on how to finance relief funding, especially with a multi-billion dollar hole in the state budget.

“People have said we’ve got this rainy day fund, but the rainy day fund is already allocated just to try to fill this multi-billion dollar hole we have in our budget,” Inslee said. “That hole is not as big as it was two months ago as our economy continues to actually be healthy in some sense to generate these revenues.”

Ross asked about an income tax as a possible solution to fill that hole. The governor was quick to answer with a “no.”

“There’s no serious discussion about an income tax in the Legislature that I’m aware of,” Inslee said.

Ross asked, what about a wealth tax or any other tax that people would find annoying?

“I find that all taxes are annoying to somebody,” Inslee chuckled. “There’s a million different ideas that probably wouldn’t be productive to talk about but we will make proposals in mid-December when I roll out my budget.”

Inslee promised his budget will be balanced and it’ll include help for businesses and employees, for health care and hospitals, and for homelessness programs.

And finally, Ross asked him if he expects to hear from either Loren Culp, his opponent in the race for governor, or President-elect Joe Biden about a position in his administration.

Inslee said he doesn’t expect he’ll hear from Culp, nor Biden. However, he did say he’s very pleased with the choice of John Kerry as climate envoy.

“I think they’re off to a great start,” Inslee said.

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