Dear friends and neighbors:
You probably know by now that the Senate passed a measure this past weekend that would establish a capital gains tax, a new tax on the growth of capital assets like stocks and bonds or the value of a business when sold. Since this is one of the most consequential bills this legislative session, I wanted to explain my vote against the bill.
I opposed Senate Bill 5096 for a very simple reason. In my nine years in the Senate, I have never seen our state budget in a better position than it is now, in terms of cash on hand and our ability to make important investments. I did not make this decision lightly. In my work as a lawmaker, I lean heavily on my financial background — and that background tells me we have the revenue to meet our needs. I believe taxes should only be increased out of a need to fund and protect vital public services, and these are things we’re able to accomplish today with existing revenue. In fact, we’re able to not only maintain services but make critical investments in childcare and early learning, as we did Saturday in passing the Fair Start Act. What’s more, revenue from a capital gains tax wouldn’t even be available to use in budgets until 2023 at the very earliest.
Just as importantly, I believe my vote reflects the will of the people of our district, who have been very hesitant to support new taxes when they are not needed. I’ve said before that I judge legislation according to our district and our community — not according to party or political affiliation. I’m a Democrat, and I’m proud to be a Democrat, but that doesn’t mean I’ll support Democratic legislation I think goes against the wishes of all the people I represent. Fortunately, I was able to help pass an amendment to the bill that helps preserve the right of voters to seek a referendum on this measure if they so choose.