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Rich not paying fair share

Gene Balk began his column “Tax flight and other myths” [Page One, June 6] by asking the question; “If Washington adopted an income tax, would our wealthiest residents flee the state?” He ended his column by stating; “If Washington were to tax its wealthiest residents income at a 1 percent rate, he (professor Cristobal Young) said, we would witness an exodus of 19 millionaires.”

No great loss.

This information is yet another reason the state should begin implementing an income tax for the very rich. The harsh reality is they are not paying their fair share of taxes.

James J. Farrell, Bellevue

Moved because of tax

My experience has a different twist: Taxes played a major role in my decision-making — but I wasn’t a millionaire. Instead I was a young sales engineer with HP in the Bay Area. Any money I made quickly disappeared with college loans, high rents and taxes. I had dreams of eventually opening my own company but couldn’t imagine taking the risk in high-cost California. So, I moved to Seattle — the lack of an income tax was part of the decision.

After 10 years up here, I saved enough to possibly make the risk worthwhile. Ronald Reagan’s positive attitude and major tax cut finally gave me the nerve to take the plunge. It was a hi-tech company that employed people here for 30 years. The company was recently sold and the owners moved it to their home state New Hampshire. Turns out that New Hampshire has tax incentives that encourage companies to expand.

Darrell Igelmund. Medina

A foot in the door

The question isn’t about what would happen to the rich. It’s a question about what would happen to the rest of us once politicians open up a new pipeline of taxation. Of the 43 states that have a state income tax, what percent of these taxes apply just to the top 1 or even 10 percent? Zero.

Most states do have different rates. However, there is often not much difference. In California, the top rate is 12.3 percent. However, for incomes above $51,000, it is 9.3 percent. Some states have brackets that seem frozen in time. Montana has seven different tax brackets, but the highest rate of 6.9 percent kicks in for incomes above $17,100.

Once politicians get their foot in the door, it’s just a matter of time until it’s wide open.

Chris Waldorf, Seattle