New WA tax law could upend retirement plans. The blame is on Dems and Gov. Inslee

by the Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

Kevin Bouchey of Richland should be relaxing and enjoying his first year of retirement. Instead he is anxious that the state is going to take away money he was counting on.

That’s because Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington state Legislature — led by a Democratic majority — pushed through a capital gains tax earlier this year that is upending Bouchey’s plans.

For more than 30 years Bouchey owned SKD Farms in the Yakima Valley. He sold the mid-sized farming operation in December 2020 and has moved to the Tri-Cities.

Bouchey told the Herald he owns non-exempt assets that if sold would produce long-term capital gains of more than $250,000 — the threshold for the new tax.

He worked hard on his farm for decades to get to where he is today. Now it’s like he’s being punished by state lawmakers for being successful.

His hope is that lawsuits filed against the capital gains tax will prevail. One was brought on by the Freedom Foundation and the other by the Washington State Farm Bureau.

On Tuesday, the two lawsuits were presented in Douglas County Superior Court, and Judge Bryan Huber decided to consolidate them, as well as postpone arguments on the state’s motion to dismiss them.

The case is to be brought before the judge again within 30 days.

Going to court over the capital gains tax is exactly what many lawmakers want.

The Washington state constitution prohibits a graduated income tax, and efforts to allow some kind of income tax have been shot down by voters 10 times since the 1930’s, with the most recent attempt in 2010.

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