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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

January 30, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Reps. Jim McDermott, Doc Hastings unite behind sales-tax deduction

UPDATED AT 5:40 P.M. WITH REICHERT’S COMMENT:

WASHINGTON — Another year, another plea for sales-tax deduction.

A bipartisan group of 57 congressional lawmakers sent a letter Thursday to the top Republican and Democrat on the House tax-writing committee to urge them to allow residents in eight states without income taxes to deduct their sales taxes instead on their federal returns.

Reps. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, and Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, are leading the call for renewing the deductions, which expired Jan. 1. Otherwise, taxes paid on purchases made this year can’t be used to offset federal income taxes. Nine of Washington’s 10 House members signed the letter.

The only exception is Republican Rep. Dave Reichert of Auburn, who like McDermott sits on the House Ways and Means Committee with jurisdiction over tax matters.  Reichert’s spokeswoman did not immediate respond to a call.  Leighanna Driftmier, Reichert’s spokeswoman, said Reichert did not sign the letter “because he talks to (committee Chairman Dave Camp) all the time about the importance of parity for sales tax states and income tax states and this is an issue that will be addressed in tax reform.”

Eight states — Washington, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming — do not have state income taxes. Unlike state income taxes, deductions for sales taxes are not permanent part of the tax code.  So Congress has been lurching from one temporary renewal to another as part of a slew of tax breaks that expire regularly.

The lawmakers wrote that affected states represent 20 percent of the nation’s population.

“A disproportionate number of Americans will shoulder a larger share of the federal tax burden if the deduction is not extended,” they said.

Comments | More in Congress | Topics: Doc Hastings, jim mcdermott, sales tax deduction

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