I heartily agree with guest columnist Dick Conway’s reasoned argument for a reformed tax system in Washington state [“Reform our tax system with a flat-rate personal income tax,” Opinion, April 10].
Our Legislature’s refusal to tackle such a volatile issue is evidence of its deep distrust of people’s willingness to accept such a change. For their part, people are absolutely convinced that government spending waste is rampant, all the while politicians get rich. It is indeed a cynical but not wholly unfair attitude. In such an environment people like Tim Eyman thrive on a local level, and the tea party thrives on a national level. But neither of them has anything to offer to solve our growing needs.
What to do? Somehow the electorate must be persuaded that in order for our city and state to grow, we’ll have to find a better way to pay for things we need.
Conway is right about our antiquated tax base. A flat tax on personal income is indeed necessary. Property and sales-tax hikes simply won’t do. We need to restructure how we pay taxes. We need a state income tax, preferably in exchange for a lower sales tax, which hurts poor people the most. This is an important selling job, but no one in today’s political climate wants to touch it with a 10-foot pole. It is probably a death wish for one’s career in government. It would require more courage than anyone in politics today is willing to muster and demonstrate.
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I agree with Conway that it must be done. But I’d be willing to bet he got some vitriolic responses to his columns on this issue.
Steven Lequire, Des Moines