Editorial: Tax increases are not fair

The sad thing about tax hikes imposed by the just-concluded session of the Washington State Legislature is that they mainly hurt the poor.

The 9.5-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase to be levied over three years will be exceedingly painful to low income people, many of whom are already struggling to get to work when gas is at an all-time high of around $2.50 per gallon.

The Legislature levied $482 million in other taxes, much of that coming from increases in the already-sky-high cigarette and liquor taxes. We might admonish the poor not to drink or smoke, but the fact is the two bad habits cut across class lines and the tax increase again is most painfully felt by the poor.

The only tax increase aimed specifically at the wealthy is a renewal of the inheritance tax, and it can be argued that this unfairly targets people who have spent a lifetime working hard to build up assets for their families. Again, a small segment of society must bear an unfair portion of new taxes.

Higher prices for booze, smokes and gas, combined with taxing a few rich people, are the easy way out of the present money crunch, but it’s ultimately unfair. If the state indeed needs substantially more money, everyone should have to pay their fair share. Don’t pick one or two unlucky groups of people to carry the burden.

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