Make it statewide
Washington state should follow the example of Seattle and add an income tax.
Sales tax trusts that people retain and spend their money in the local economy. This is no longer the case. Money is easily transferred out of the local economy, pretax. Examples are purchasing items across the world, and the ease of investing in the stock market. This is the new economy’s opportunity to withhold taxes.
Washington state should adapt to this new economy.
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Lynn Arnold, Seattle
Values vs. policy
The income tax debate is a microcosm of policy in Washington. We want progressive change, but not in our backyards.
As a recent transplant to Seattle, I have been dismayed by the gap between values and policy. Even in King County, where Bernie Sanders out-caucused Hillary Clinton 67 percent to 33 percent and our local politics are a race to the left, we balk at the policy incarnations of our ideals.
Seattleites acknowledge homelessness as a crisis but do not want services housed in their neighborhoods. Western Washingtonians want to confront the opioid epidemic but not with safe injection sites in their cities. Washingtonians need to fund education but for years refused taxes that would take their own money to do so.
As a lawyer, I’m as tempted as anyone to rely on the courts. But, ultimately, voters need to decide: Are we willing to make the small sacrifices necessary to achieve the community we want?
Sam Dinning, Seattle
An income tax is unconstitutional in the state of Washington, and that should be enough for the attorney general to put an end to it. It is funny that this same attorney general is so quick to sue President Donald Trump when there is something that he feels is unconstitutional but overlooks this same fact with this income tax because it is something that he wants. Unacceptable.
If eventually presented to the Washington Supreme Court and if supported by it, we will have to work on removing the justices from office.
Dale Hackney, Sequim
The income tax proposal is misguided, and as a Seattle resident I don’t want to pay to defend it in court.
Even though my family will never have to pay the tax (because we don’t make enough money), it still seems like a bad idea. Why chase wealthy people out of the city?
All of the other taxes I pay won’t go down, while this tax would penalize high earners for living here.
Robert Reed, Seattle
Share tax burden
If an income tax survives the court challenge, I suggest Seattle adopt a truly progressive tax system where every person who pays federal income tax contributes to the costs of running Seattle.
Let’s start with a 1 percent local tax on the first $100,000 of federal taxable income. Go with 2 percent on $100,000 to $500,000, and 3 percent above $500,000. This lets everyone pay their fair share. A person with taxable income of $30,000 pays $300, income of $100,000 pays $1,000, and income of $1 million pays $24,000. For the first two years apply all of the revenues received to reducing city taxes, so it is absolutely tax neutral.
We need a system where everyone shares the tax burden and takes ownership of where the tax revenues are spent.
W.C. Mills, Seattle