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Mayor Ed Murray has proposed an income tax on “high earning” households in Seattle. His challenger, former Mayor Mike McGinn, has also floated an income-tax proposal.

Studies have shown that the rich rarely move from state to state because of taxes, but the economic literature about the effects within a metropolitan area is lacking. So it’s possible this could cause even more of an exodus of high-earning households to the Eastside, hurting the city economy. It also would run up against state law with an uncertain path in a court challenge. And don’t forget the, er, contradictory plan for a soda tax, which would fall disproportionately on low-income people.

The problem is at the state level. Washington has one of the most unfair tax systems in the nation, with no income tax and a heavy reliance on regressive sales taxes. Economist Dick Conway has written, “even in good economic times the Washington state and local tax system continues to be dysfunctional.” Yet voters have consistently turned down an income tax.

What do you think?

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