WEALTH TAX: Washington State One Step Closer to Driving Out All Its Billionaires

Townhall Media/Ian Snively

Washington State took a big step this week towards passing a “wealth tax” on the state’s richest residents.

The state — home to uberwealthy Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, among others — is holding senate hearings on SB 5426, which would portion a 1% tax on “paper wealth” like stocks, bonds, futures, and publicly traded options.


I’m reading the text of the bill right now, and about the first 15-20% of it isn’t even actual law. It’s nothing but happy talk, like “Washington has long led the way with innovative and bold ideas that have changed the world.”

And: “Washington’s wealthiest residents can and should share more equitably in the responsibility of funding these key community programs alongside their neighbors.”

Or: “The legislature intends to disrupt the long-standing systemic inequities in our tax code laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic as we recover, rebuild, and transform Washington’s economy.”

Companion bill HB 1406 got its first public hearing on the Washington House side of the legislature on Wednesday.

Both bills would exempt the first billion in assets from forced sale and confiscation, so the uberwealthy would have that going for them, which is nice.

I won’t bore you yet again with why a wealth tax is a bad idea.

Instead, let’s talk about why it’s a stupid idea.

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There is nothing more mobile than wealth, and no people more mobile than the super-rich. Washington trying to collect a wealth tax on the rich would be like playing Whack-a-Mole with a feather duster: silly and ineffective.

Bill Gates could spend a whole lot less than 1% of his net worth — and only the one time, not year after year — to establish residency in some place more wisely run than Washington. Florida, for example. Or maybe Somalia.


Washington wouldn’t just fail to collect their wealth tax; they’d stop collecting the massive taxes that their billionaires are already paying.

But, hey, since when did a leftist legislator ever put economic reality above the good feelz of sticking it to the man, or whatever?

Here’s the part you can never quite tell about most statist lawmakers: Do they propose and pass stupid laws just to please their ignorant constituents, or are they just that stupid?Feel free to work that question out among yourselves in the comments.

Please keep in mind that I’m not defending our woke billionaires like Gates or Bezos. It’s pretty clear that they don’t like me or the things I stand for or even the country that made their riches possible.

I just don’t want them fleeing Washington for my state.


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