May 24, 2013 at 7:58 AM
Both parties take advantage of tax exemption
Isn’t it the responsibility of the IRS to protect taxpayers by denying 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status to partisan groups?
I’m neither Republican nor a Democrat, but it seems to me that many conservative groups are blatantly partisan, including the tea party, anti-abortion groups and the NRA. Many churches are also partisan [“IRS chief helped create plan to plant question about scandal,” News, May 22].
I think the Democratic Party is often too quick to place itself on the sacrificial altar of right-wing politics, and this IRS issue is probably a case in point, but there is no doubt that both parties are unfairly taking advantage of 501(c)(4) status and the taxpayers.
Marjorie Rhodes, Seattle
Rove’s group should face scrutiny
Is there anyone anywhere on the political spectrum who believes that Crossroads GPS is an organization “primarily engaged in the promotion of social welfare?”
It would be a scandal if this group’s application was not under scrutiny of the IRS [“Rove’s group thinks it is under IRS scrutiny,” News, May 21].
Wouldn’t you be suspicious of a group that had previously supported political campaigns labeled, oh let’s say, Progressive Democrats of Mill Valley? The tea party is a political party. When groups using that label apply to be something other than a political PAC, they should receive extra scrutiny.
Those complaining seem to be saying the IRS shouldn’t be doing this. I have the opposite complaint. If only conservative groups have been scrutinized, it sounds like the IRS has only been doing half of its job.
Nickie Moran, Seattle
April 23, 2013 at 8:04 AM
Taxing Internet purchases would benefit the state
When buying an item via mail order or the Internet, purchasers should pay the sales tax for the state in which the brick-and-mortar merchant or shipping location is sited just as if they were physically in that state [“Senate vote nears on bill that would end tax-free online sales,” page one, April 22].
This principal simplifies the collection of sales tax and helps pay for infrastructure the state provided that allows businesses to operate.
For states that have no sales tax, two solutions are possible: Pay either the resident’s state sales tax if there is one or create a federal sales tax.
Boyce Burdick, Richland
March 28, 2013 at 7:05 AM
Taxpayers don’t want to fund government programs
I disagree with George Coulbourn’s conclusion that the primary cause of state parks underfunding lies with the Legislature [“Disconnect between government, people,” Northwest Voices, March 27].
I think the repeated strong approval of Tim Eyman’s initiatives to require a two-thirds supermajority to raise taxes makes it very clear that taxpayers don’t want to pay what it takes to provide better funding for government programs. The fact that this results in underfunding state parks, dangerously mentally ill people running loose, poor schools and the like is OK with the taxpayers; they just want that money in their own pockets.
As was so wisely stated in the Pogo comic strip many years back, “We have met the enemy, and he is us”.
–Pete Beaupain, Auburn
March 12, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Vote is justified by Seattle’s population
Regarding the editorial of Sunday March 10 [“Lawmakers should heed voters on decisions about taxes,” Opinion], I seem to be confused about how state representation works. Could you help clear this up for me?
My understanding is that legislative districts are roughly figured on the basis of population and Seattle is the most populous part of the state. We hear a lot of grumbling from places outside of the Seattle Metro area on a wide range of political topics on a regular basis and this one seems to be no different. Seattle has more people and the rest of the state has acreage.
Isn’t that democratic, people vote and land doesn’t — unless someone is rigging the system?
–Richard Darby, Seattle
March 8, 2013 at 3:30 PM
Rich families will continue to thrive
What’s wrong with developing a progressive national income tax [“Tax bills for rich families approach 30-year high,” seattletimes.com, March 3]? Members of the middle class and the poor cannot fathom the amount the superrich pay to the federal government each year — the superrich see tax rates shocking to the middle class and poor.
What the article misses, though, is the impact those rates have on the people affected by them. A higher tax rate to a member of the superrich may be a lot to a member of the middle class or poor, but it still leaves more than enough for the payer on which to live and thrive. A tax system in which everyone pays the same or similar rates creates a system disproportionate and even burdensome to the middle class and poor.
Members of the superrich did well for themselves. They should be able to benefit from their success. Despite scare tactics from those against a progressive system, the superrich will continue to invest, create jobs, do business and live here even while facing a higher rate. They’ve paid even higher rates in the past, and this country prospered then. There is no reason that will not continue to be the case.
–Katie Rose, Tacoma
March 6, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Trupin relies too heavily on taxes
Remy Trupin is at it again: In his op-ed for The Seattle Times he describes — through his knothole — the needs of Washingtonians and then dreams up every imaginable tax to pay for it all [“Fully funding public education requires new tax revenue,” Opinion, March 5].
Not once did he mention the need to address the fraud and waste that erodes our budget by the millions daily, and not once did he mention the need to live within our means.
One would think, being the director of the Washington State Budget & Policy Center, a fiscal think tank, that he would understand basic math. You know, maxing-out your credit cards, getting another, maxing-out that one, then simply making minimum payments can only go so far — then it’s time to pay the piper.
But then again, he probably has another plan to pay the piper, like raising taxes again. Don’t you think it’s time to stop the madness already?
–Ron Kalina, Camano Island
March 5, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Regressive taxes are not the solution
On Feb. 28, The Seattle Times reported on legislation proposed by King County officials allowing the county to raise the local sales tax without voter approval [“County seeks right to raise tax without vote,” NWThursday]. Extra revenue generated from a potential sales-tax increase would support public safety and human services.
King County has a problem. The cost of maintaining vital service levels goes up every year, yet voters reliably reject sales and property tax increases, and there is no state income tax. We are still in desperate need of more revenue, specifically to fund public safety. My concern is that raising the sales tax addresses the wrong component of a larger issue.
I begrudgingly supported an increase in sales tax in the past because I felt that my hands were tied. King County officials must be feeling the same way now, as bypassing the vote on a contentious topic is bound to ruffle some feathers.
I am disappointed that such a drastic measure is being taken not in the name of a long-term solution, but instead an action that perpetuates our notoriously regressive tax system that hurts the middle class and poor.
Ruffle feathers if you must, but make sure it’s worthwhile.
–Erin Prendergast, Seattle
March 5, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Thriving tech businesses should invest in state students
Today’s opinion piece by Susan Sigl and Bryan Mistele ended with the sentence, “The answer should be clear” [“Tech industry tax incentives should be extended,” Opinion, March 1]. The answer could be clear if the correct question were asked: “If the tech industry is as successful as they say they are due to past incentives, and they need our students to be better-educated, why are they seeking to retain incentives now that their businesses are thriving?”
The phrase “pay it forward” has become popular recently. How about some good old-fashioned “pay it back” from those established businesses in the tech industry? Companies that have become successful due to past incentives should pay the state back for those previously received incentives by letting go of them.
This is a clear answer to the problem of fully funding education for all state students, including those studying STEM subjects.
–Marcia Stedman, Bothell
Tax incentives should not go to established companies
It seem to me tax incentives should be for startups or struggling innovative companies.
I wish someone would look at Microsoft and other large, very profitable tech companies and simply list the recent profits and the tax breaks they will receive if these incentives are continued and then look at the need for education funding.
How can these companies continually lament the lack of skilled workers while avoiding paying taxes that help fund education? Am I missing something? Please enlighten us.
–Sherry Taylor, Seattle
March 4, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Seattle voters pay for service demands
The March 1 editorial on the state Supreme Court decision left the impression that Seattle voters are uniquely pointy-headed tax-lovers [“Two-thirds law dumped, but sentiment remains,” Opinion].
Do you miss the obvious — that Seattle voters are simply willing to pay for the services we demand? Perhaps voters in other parts of the state are not.
–Dennis J. Ortblad, Seattle
March 2, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Sen. Ed Murray works for the state, not a political party
How can Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray say the state Supreme Court’s overturning the two-thirds voting requirement protects us from the tyranny of the minority [“Raising taxes gets easier — and politically harder,” page one, March 1]?
The voters last November approved it by 64 percent. Sen. Murray, that is a majority!
Murray shows the public his lack of understanding of his duty. He works for the citizens of the state of Washington, not a political party.
What a shame the political process of the state Supreme Court has fallen to this level.
–Leo M. Riley, Bellevue
Government programs need tax money
People want roads, bridges, public transportation, public schools, police protection, social services and other government programs, but they don’t want to pay for any of it. They vote for Tim Eyman’s anti-tax initiatives and scream when asked to pay road tolls.
By voting for anti-tax initiatives and candidates, they risk turning our highways into parking lots, our kids into losers and our cities into encampments for the homeless and mentally ill.
Moreover, they irrationally vote against their own self-interest, because Washington state has the most regressive tax system in the nation, but we have no high earners’ state income tax.
–Don Smith, Bellevue
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