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ELECTION: Start addressing state’s regressive tax system

Letter by Gray Sterling, Lakewood on Oct. 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm with 8 Comments »
October 20, 2010 4:49 pm

Re :‘Wealthy guys differ on income tax” (TNT, 10-12).

I attended the debate between Bill Gates Sr. and Slade Gorton on I-1098, and among the various slides and gobs of facts and figures that were confusingly tossed out at the audience from both sides, one of the statements from Matt McIlwain, of the opposing side, did stick out. “Were not even saying, ‘No income tax, ever.’ We’re saying not this income tax.” In listening to this, what I expected to hear next was a description or outline of how an alternative income tax would be structured if he and others in opposition could have their way.

In light of the fact that the purpose of the opposition in this debate was to merely poke holes through as many of the arguments made for the passage of the initiative, (however shallow they may have been), I couldn’t help but ponder the thought that if I were in opposition’s shoes, I would want to appeal to the majority of the voters in the room who have the least to lose from their wallets and the most to gain from better public education and a move towards a less regressive tax system should I-1098 be implemented. McIlwain failed in doing this by not providing the slightest insight to an alternative income tax system.

In a state that has one of the most regressive tax systems in the nation and has seen drastic cuts to education, I’m not necessarily saying “yes” to this income tax initiative, I’m asking if not this, then what?

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. firemannotfirefighter says:

    In order to change the Tax system of the State of Washington, it needs to be revenue neutral for the initial changeover. Meaning, if you start an income tax, you need to reduce property and sales tax by an equal amount, or you risk the chance of people losing their house (if they are barely hanging on), their vehicles or even plunge the state into a deeper recession. Any future tax system should be income based, but it should also be fair. A flat tax is a great way to accomplish this. Everyone is taxed on money they receive at the same percentage. If someone makes $50,000 per year, they are taxed at the same percentage of income as someone who makes $5,000,000 per year. This will allow the burden to spread around, and it will actually help the middle class. Here in Washington find 1 tax increase that hasn’t taken more money from the Middle class than from the Wealthy. Sales tax? Hits the middle class at a higher percentage to income than the wealthy. Sin taxes? Poor and middle class are more likely to drink and smoke than the richer more affluent. Gas tax? Most people making higher wages get company cars and their gas is paid for as a perk. That cost is then passed on to the consumers, which are more than likely middle class.

    I-1098 is a bad idea because the State legislature NEVER reduces or gets rid of taxes… they just make so the middle class pays more.

  2. The only way would be to throw out the entire state taxing system and start from scratch with the idea that only two major taxes would remain, either as it is now or income tax plus sales tax, or income tax plus property tax. It would have to be set in the consitution requiring a super majority to change the rates. Otherwise…forget it.

  3. Roncella says:

    Washington State is the 5th highest taxed State in the Nation.

    We can thank the Dems. who are in total control of the the State along with the Governor for moving Washington state up the list so quickly.

  4. I’m interested to know the source of the information that ranks WA 5th highest taxed state. None of the sources I find, including the Tax Foundation, US Census, Forbes, etc. rank us any higher than like 13th. The Tax Foundation ranked WA 35th in 2008 for per capita state and local tax collections.

  5. I think what roncella was hinting at was that our Legislators will not be happy until Washington State is number ONE!Even if being Number 1 is on being the higest taxed state in the U.S.A!!!!

  6. Fireman – good letter, well thought out, and well written. Our tax systems (state and federal) are long overdue for a makeover.

  7. alindasue says:

    I’ll agree to an income tax only if and when when Washington State does what Oregon did and abolish the sales tax. The double dipping system proposed would be too hard to control.

  8. alindasue – I agree. One tax system, that is simple, and as equable to all (or at least as many as possible)

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