Letters to the Editor

I-1098 would be state’s first sane tax

The editorial board of The (“family owned”) Seattle Times is still deceiving its readers, arguing that I-1098’s personal income tax “will take away the most important tax-based advantage Washington has in attracting business and jobs here.”

Washington is awash with crazy taxes (Source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy). The business and occupation tax on gross income, not profits, is the small business’s worst nightmare. I-1098 would eliminate B & O tax for 80 percent of Washington’s businesses. Our high sales and excise (especially gasoline) taxes drive buyers to neighboring states (Oregon, 2 percent; Idaho, 6.5 percent; Montana, 2.2 percent), Indian reservations and military installations, thus shooting our businesses in the foot. To attract visitors, Washington then waives its sales tax for anyone who shows proof of out-of-state residence. How crazy is that?

Even so, our tax code should serve everyone, not just businesses. I-1098’s 20 percent reduction in the state school portion of our property taxes would help everyone.

I-1098’s personal income tax would be the state’s first sane tax. A 9 percent income tax on the richest 1 percent of our citizens would use about $15 million (Source: AFL-CIO) now available to special interests for lobbying and put it to work for education and medical care. A 5 percent tax on the next highest-earning 4 percent of our citizens would raise millions more. The legislatures of 46 other states have figured that out. Oregon’s richest pay 6.2 percent in state taxes. Montana’s pay 4.6 percent. Idaho’s pay 6.3 percent. Ours pay 2.6 percent, and our richest are a lot richer than their richest.

If we don’t fix this by voting for I-1098, then we are as crazy as our taxes.

Jim Bruner

Oak Harbor

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