Letters to the Editor

Income tax would cut property tax

I admire anyone who runs for a public office when re-election depends on personal success. It is so much easier to be re-elected year after year by blaming lack of success on the other party, as some of our state representatives do. It is even easier, and more hypocritical, to blame governments for “not being able to live within their means” after encouraging nitwits like Tim Eyman to destroy the means through foolish initiatives.

The dilemma faced by the county commissioners, described by Commissioner Helen Price Johnson in her May 29 Sound Off, is exactly what anyone can expect when a governing body is deprived of the means to do what it needs to do. Our only hope is that a majority of the Legislature will have the wisdom and courage to raise revenue in ways that most other states have already found successful.

In 2004, a study by the League of Women Voters of Washington showed that the state’s tax structure becomes more regressive (the greatest tax burden is carried by those with the least income) as incomes become more unequal. Today, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy says Washington’s tax structure is the most regressive of any in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Anyone with enough intelligence to fill out a ballot should read the LWV Tax Study 2004 at www.lwvwa.org, and the ITEP study “Who Pays?” at www.itep.org. Those who do so will see that I-1098, proposed by philanthropist Bill Gates, Sr., would redistribute a major part of our tax burden from the poorest among us to those who can best afford it. A small tax on incomes over $200,000 would permit a 20 percent reduction in property taxes and a B&O tax credit up to $4,800 that would exempt 80 percent of the state’s businesses from a tax that no other state imposes.

Petitions to put it on the ballot for the fall election are being circulated. Please sign one now and let the people decide.

Jim Bruner

Oak Harbor

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