The resignation of Guy Palumbo from the state Senate gives progressive Democratic lawmakers a clearer path to a capital gains tax, one of the few political peaks they failed to summit in the 2019 session.
Will they take it is a question to be mulled these next few months.
Palumbo was among a quartet of the 28-member Senate Democratic caucus unwilling to support such a tax. Without those four votes, all ideas were destined to die.
The Maltby Democrat quit May 24 and Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, announced Tuesday, May 28, he wants to fill the seat in the 1st District. If he gets the gig — and he’s a favorite — it changes the equation.
Stanford, a data science consultant, is not averse to a capital gains tax which House Democrats have put out there a few times in his five terms, including this year.
One suspects a change of chambers won’t alter his attitude. Thus he’d be positioned to cast the pivotal 25th vote for passage in the Senate — presuming Democrats will be still interested in making this dangerous political trek in 2020, an election year.
On June 9, Democratic precinct committee officers will meet to nominate three people to fill the vacancy. Their names will be sent to the Snohomish and King County councils which will appoint someone to serve the district, which straddles Snohomish and King counties encompassing Bothell, Mountlake Terrace and part of Kirkland.
In the meantime, Palumbo’s departure also could add this controversial tax to the mix of a special legislative contest this November.
State Sen. Liz Lovelett, D-Anacortes, is seeking to keep the 40th District seat to which she was appointed earlier this year. She’s all in on this potential source of revenue. She co-sponsored a capital gains tax that received a hearing in the the Senate Ways and Means Committee but was never a threat of being voted on.
While this is a pretty safe district for Democrats, taxes are an easy line of attack for her Republican challenger. And if either of the two Democrats in the primary are wary of the tax, they might bring it up as well.
Contact The Herald (Everett) columnist Jerry Cornfield at 360-352-8623, jcornfield@herald net.com or on Twitter, @dospueblos.