Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: taxes

Nov.
29th

Tax abatement might be good move for UPlace

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

What’s better for University Place’s Town Center:

(a) A project that doesn’t get built, thus generating no tax revenue?

(b) Or a project that does get built and starts generating some tax revenue immediately and even more a few years down the road?

The answer to that question seems obvious. And it’s why the City Council should give serious consideration to providing tax abatement to a Tacoma-based developer currently building one mixed-use building at Town Center and hoping to build a second.
Read more »

Oct.
24th

Approve amendments and maintain tax actions

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Voters can be excused if they’re scratching their heads over four measures on the Nov. 6 ballot. The ballot language can be confusing, especially on the two advisory vote measures.

We’ll make it easy for you. The News Tribune editorial board recommends that you vote “approved” on the two constitutional amendments (ESJR 8221 and SJR 8223) and “maintained” on the two advisory votes. Here’s why. Read more »

Oct.
4th

Keep simple majority for County Council tax votes

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Stop us before we tax again – even though we haven’t raised taxes in eight years and have no plans to do it anytime soon.

That’s what the Pierce County Council seems to be saying with Charter Amendment 40 on the Nov. 6 ballot.

A council majority is asking that voters change the county charter so that a supermajority of members – five out of seven – would be needed to approve new councilmanic taxes and increases. Currently, only a simple majority of four is needed.

It should stay that way. If voters approve the charter change, it would allow a minority of three council members to call the shots.
Read more »

Sep.
13th

I-1185 voters: Don’t also expect more state services

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

If recent history is any guide, Washingtonians in November will elect a slew of liberal Democrats to the Legislature, most with hopes of spending more on education, health care and social services.

At the same time, voters will enact a measure – Initiative 1185 – that will effectively prevent those Democrats from raising more revenue to pay for those hopes. I-1185 would require a two-thirds majority in the Legislature for new taxes unless they are approved by a vote of the people.

Welcome to Washington, where a big schizoid chunk of the

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June
2nd

Voting D and taxing R won’t work without Initiative 1053

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Behind the legal kerfluffle over Initiative 1053 lies a political paradox.

The initiative, which forbids the Legislature to raise taxes without a two-thirds majority, was struck down Wednesday in King County Superior Court. Judge Bruce E. Heller said it violated language in the Washington Constitution calling for a simple majority on tax measures; this, he said, implicitly bars a requirement for anything more than a simple majority.

That’s an intriguing argument, and it’s easy to envision the state Supreme Court – dominated by Democrats – agreeing with him.

Which gets us to

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Dec.
20th

Don’t let 2011 end without saving the sales-tax deduction

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Something is getting lost in the partisan bickering in Congress over extension of the payroll-tax break and unemployment benefits.

That would be the sales-tax deduction – which could be seen as a mini financial stimulus for the seven states, including Washington, that don’t have a state income tax.

The deduction, which has been renewed by Congress year-to-year, allows people who itemize their federal income tax to write off state and local sales taxes. Residents of states that have a state income tax can choose to deduct either that tax or the sales tax from their federal income tax. Read more »

Oct.
29th

The real costs of a no-new-revenue state budget

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Enter a magical world where big problems simply disappear because there’s no money to fix them.

A glimpse of that make-believe world can be found in the state budget released Thursday by Gov. Chris Gregoire. Gregoire doesn’t believe in magic herself, but enough Washingtonians do that her budget had to play along.

Falling revenue forecasts have blown a $2 billion crater into the skeletal, hard times budget the Legislature approved in May. On Thursday, Gregoire announced a special late-November legislative session to fill the crater and offered her scenario – as legally required – for doing it without any additional tax money.

Even anti-tax absolutists might cringe a little at the human implications of a no-new-revenue budget.

In the real world, kids get beaten up, thrown out, sexually violated and otherwise brutalized by the adults who ought to be caring for them. When their grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., are also incompetent or irresponsible, they need homes and help.

Gregoire’s plan offloads a lot of their anguish – where? to whom? – by spending less money on it. Funding for child welfare workers would drop by $8.2 million, support for affected children by $7.3 million, and payments to group homes and placement agencies by $13 million.

Good for budget. Bad for hurting, scared children, whose plight seems invisible to some Washingtonians.
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Dec.
4th

If not this $4 trillion anti-deficit plan, what?

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

The United States is following Greece down the path of fiscal ruin.

Blame Democrats who won’t touch social spending. Blame Republicans who categorically oppose tax increases. The hard reality is that neither low tax rates nor generous entitlements will count for much if crushing debt bankrupts America and leaves it at the mercy of the likes of China.

Americans must get past the hardened partisanship that has paralyzed its ability to get its financial house in order.

President Obama made a good down payment on fiscal responsibility last week when he proposed a two-year wage freeze for civilian federal workers. That’s not something liberal Democrats are supposed to do, but he did it.

America might get all the way to sustainable spending under the 10-year austerity plan outlined Wednesday by Obama’s deficit reduction panel. Chaired by former Sen. Alan Simpson, a Wyoming Republican, and Erskine Bowles, former Clinton chief of staff, the panel has impeccable bipartisan credentials.

It proposes to spread the pain far and wide. For example, the plan would:

• End popular tax breaks – including deductions for mortgage interest and employer health plans – to pay for a simpler tax code with lower across-the-board rates.
Read more »