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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 20, 2009 at 4:00 PM

State income tax

Unfair, predatory proposal

How dare Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown characterize her call for an income tax targeting a certain segment of the population as one based in fairness? [“Brown: Fairness, not politics driving income-tax pitch,” News, April 17] How is it fair to prey on a group of citizens because “they can afford it”? That is patently disingenuous.

A small-business owner making $250,000 is moderately successful. Politician after politician touts how we need small businesses to drive the economy and create jobs. This income tax would unfairly penalize those who are the most productive and successful in making our economy work.

Brown is taking the next step in fostering class envy as a way to manipulate her voting base into supporting Olympia’s wholly irresponsible policies. Washington state government has consistently grown faster than its population. Despite built-in revenue increases that come from escalating prices and a growing population, there is never enough money to satisfy Olympia’s appetite.

Despite our historical boom-or-bust economic cycles, Olympia insists on budgeting based on the high-water mark of projected revenues, and then cries foul when the economy takes a downturn and the revenues don’t hold up.

I frankly agree that the sales tax is very regressive, but attempting to address its inequities by tacking on an additional income tax on a particular segment of our citizens is just wrong, sets a very dangerous precedent and opens itself up for severe unintended consequences.

Remember when the rich were targeted with the luxury tax on boats? It cost hundreds of boat-builders their jobs and almost permanently destroyed the boatbuilding industry in Washington.

If Brown believes we need a fairer tax system built on an income tax, then she should have the courage of her convictions and propose that. She shouldn’t propose what she thinks she might be able to sell based on the class envy that has been cultivated over the past couple of decades.

— Mark Ursino, Sammamish

Preferable to sales tax

Debate regarding a Washington state income tax broils again. While it is true that many of us have voted down an income tax, the common erroneous conclusion is that we prefer a sales tax.

The sales tax is regressive and especially burdensome on the poor. An income tax provides a much more equitable system based on ability to support governmental needs and programs.

What I oppose is both a sales tax and an income tax. This is a recipe for a double squeeze on the taxpayer. If legislation were proposed to do away with the sales tax and replace it with an income tax, I would support that in heartbeat.

— David Rogerson, Redmond

Comments | More in Taxes, Washington Legislature


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