Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large is absolutely right about the unfairness of state taxes.
For 2017, our property taxes increased by 220 percent. We appealed and found that the assessor made an $84,000 mistake. To prove the mistake I compared assessments with neighbors and researched 16 nearby properties. I discovered a roller-coaster of reassessments from a 33 percent reduction to a 220 percent increase on a street where nothing has changed for 30 years. Large properties received generous discounts, best properties are not necessarily assessed the highest and properties of equal quality can differ substantially in assessments.
The system is unfair, irrational and bizarre. We are paying taxes on what we own rather than on what we earn.
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James Behrend, Bainbridge Island
Speak up for fairness
Jerry Large hit the nail on the head: our tax system in Washington state is not fair or efficient.
The tax system can be used to narrow the wealth gap, like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit have done federally. Even that needs work, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to young workers who are currently taxed into poverty.
It may seem impossible to create fairness and narrow income inequality, but actually we can help by calling our state and national representatives and telling them it is time for fair tax systems. In Olympia and D.C., when constituents speak, representatives listen. So call, write, or visit your representatives and speak up for a fair tax system.
Willie Dickerson, Snohomish
Share the burden
I have lived in the Greater Seattle area for 22 years (and in Shoreline for the past nine years), and I love our state. Washington to me represents beauty, innovation through education and hope for a better world because of our values.
I have also seen rents increase by more than 100 percent; many good people priced out of their neighborhoods; an increase in homelessness as a select few have gotten extraordinarily wealthy; and our tax code become the most regressive in the U.S. I don’t fault those who have been successful, but I do believe that they should be willing to invest some of their fabulous wealth back into the things that make this state so and special.
That’s why I believe in the Democrat-led House Bill 2186, which creates common-sense revenue for investments like education, infrastructure and social services for the most vulnerable. Closing the capital-gains loophole is smart policy.
It is time that Washington lives by its values and passes a budget that stops placing so much of the financial burden on the backs of those least able to pay.
Mary Hobbs, Shoreline