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‘Huge victory’: SCOTUS won’t hear appeal of capital gains tax

OLYMPIA (Jan. 16, 2024) — Invest in Washington Now, a non-profit organization fighting for a more fair tax code in Washington state, hailed today’s Supreme Court’s decision not to hear an appeal to overturn Washington state’s capital gains tax on the mega-rich as “a huge victory for Washington kids and families.”

 Treasure Mackley, Executive Director of Invest In Washington Now, said:

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today was a huge victory for Washington kids and families. It preserved $900 million a year to support Washington’s child care and education programs, far more than was initially projected to be collected from this tax. This decision could not have come at a more critical time as school districts across the state are facing funding shortfalls.

“After spending years falsely claiming that the capital gains tax is an income tax, and losing that argument again and again, they made another desperate attempt based on a dubious legal theory which forced them to admit that it’s an excise tax.“Polls show Washingtonians strongly support making the wealthiest pay what they truly owe in taxes for services all of us depend on. When the wealthy pay what they owe, just like the rest of us, our communities are stronger. Only when we have a fair tax code can we undo decades of disinvestment in education that hurts families, communities, and small businesses and disproportionately impacts BIPOC children.”

The capital gains tax increases funding for the Education Legacy Trust Account, which supports child care, pre-schools, special education, and community and technical colleges; it also funds the Common School Construction Account, which helps with renovating, repairing, and building schools.

Last year the Washington Supreme Court overturned a Douglas County judge’s earlier ruling in Quinn v Washington, a case brought by a small handful of ultra-millionaires. The 7% capital gains tax on stock sales’ extraordinary profits exceeding $250,000 annually does not apply to real estate, retirement accounts like IRAs, family-owned small businesses, and farms, among other things. It impacts just the wealthiest among us; only 0.2% of Washingtonian taxpayers will see enough profits to pay this tax.

Misha Werschkul, Executive Director of the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, released a statement today that reads:

“It’s great news for Washington state and our country that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear oral arguments for Quinn v. Washington. This case was a cynical attempt by the wealthiest Washingtonians to overturn a modest tax impacting only the very wealthiest 0.2% of Washington taxpayers. In 2023 alone, the capital gains excise tax raised nearly $1 billion to pay for investments in schools, child care, and early learning. With today’s order, the Washington State Supreme Court’s overwhelming 7-2 ruling in favor of the constitutionality of the tax stands.

“We are continuing to monitor efforts by wealthy Washingtonians to overturn this law via ballot initiative in 2024. Alongside partners, we will continue to push for changes to make Washington state’s tax code more equitable.”


Trial court sides with super-rich on capital gains tax (March 2, 2022)
‘The kind of change we need’: Senate OKs capital gains tax (March 8, 2021)

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