Washington State Legislature approves income tax, pending voter approval, on May 8, 1969.

  • By Alan J. Stein
  • Posted 6/04/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1231
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On May 8, 1969, the Washington State Legislature approves a constitutional amendment for a single-rate income tax requiring voter approval.

The voters did not approve the tax.

The amendment would have established a flat rate of 3.5 percent income tax, reduced the sales tax to 3.5 percent, halved the Business and Occupation (B&O) tax, and halved the limit on property taxes. The legislature would have been empowered to set the tax rates. Governor Daniel J. Evans (b. 1925) supported the measure, but it had adamant opponents throughout the state.

The measure, called HJR 42, went to the voters on November 3, 1970, along with Initiative 251, which would have limited taxes. Voters defeated both measures.


Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995), 269; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 9, 1969, p. 1, 3; Ibid, November 4, 1970, p. 19.

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