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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 3, 2009 at 4:00 PM

State income tax

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John Lok / The Seattle Times

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, center, addresses the media recently as she and other members of the Senate announce their budget proposal. With her, from left, are Sens. Rodney Tom, Maragarita Prentice and Chris Marr.

Now may be the right time

Editor, The Times:

I believe The Seattle Times, in its editorial [“Gasp! Another try at an income tax,” Opinion, April 3], is wrong on at least two fronts.

First, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown’s income-tax proposal does not call for a 1 percent flat tax. The article that discusses the proposed income tax [“Obstacles challenge proposals to tax rich,” page one, April 3] details that the 1 percent tax is mandated by the state’s constitution on property taxes (and income may not be, based on other state’s findings) and the 1 percent income tax on single filers who make more than $500,000 a year and married filers who make more than $1,000,000 is actually contained in a bill submitted by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle. There are no details listed for Brown’s proposal that reflect these guidelines.

Second, I believe the time actually is right for the voting public to approve this type of income tax. It’s been shown time and again that a sales tax is a regressive tax that favors the wealthy over the rest.

Though the wealthy may have seen their wealth and portfolios reduced by the current economic problems, they are still living a life far removed from the “average” person. I doubt that any people who would be affected by this type of income tax are currently worried about which bill they should pay, whether their children can still go to college or losing their home.

The rest of us have these worries and more.

Again, now may just be the right time for an income tax.

— Robert Oberlander, Issaquah

Will deter entrepreneurs

In 2005, I moved to Seattle. A factor in deciding upon Seattle was the absence of an income tax.

Since moving here, I have spent a year as a full-time volunteer construction supervisor for Habitat for Humanity and I have started a business. This business directly employs six people and indirectly employs many more.

I won’t leave if an income tax is enacted; however, if Washington state had an income tax four years ago, I would have chosen a different city.

I believe the greatest benefit of the state/federal system is the states have the freedom to try a variety of solutions in creating opportunities. Currently, Washington state is one of only a few states in the country that does not tax income, but rather consumption. This is a more enlightened approach.

When this recession has passed, it will be on the shoulders of small businesses and the entrepreneurs who started them. If an income tax is enacted, many entrepreneurs will choose Dallas, Phoenix or Miami to start their businesses.

Please do not take this competitive advantage away from Washington state when we need it the most.

— Erik Cullen, Seattle

Part of the liberal agenda

So the Democratic Party in the Senate, led by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, wants a 1 percent state income tax on $500,000. If anyone in this state thinks the tax will stay at $500,000 — well, I have a state bridge to sell you!

Once they get their foot in the door, they will lower the tax until it’s a full-blown income tax on everyone. Liberals get to their agenda by using class envy and slowly moving the agenda along until they have it all. God help us.

— Brian Maes, Olympia

Comments | More in Taxes, Washington Legislature

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