Tax on high incomes would improve quality of life in Washington State

April 2, 2009 | Alex Stone

Recent legislative dialogue and a bill introducing a tax on high incomes have injected new life into state budget discussions.

It’s a welcome change from the debate so far. Tough times call for creative thinking about our public investments, not a slash and burn approach that endangers our quality of life.

Public structures like health care for children, access to higher education and worker retraining, and a robust economic safety net (unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, etc.) make this state an attractive place to work, start a business or raise a family.

Here are a few ways we can ensure we have the revenue we need to make such important investments:

  • Close selected tax breaks and increase the B&O tax credit for small business. Net: $270 million in the next biennium. Bonus: Help spur investment, promote entrepreneurship and restore jobs for small business.
  • Expand the sales tax base to include candy, gum, bottled water and certain services. Net: over $1 billion in state and local revenue, and update or tax system for the 21st century. Bonus: improved health for children and adults.
  • Institute a tax on high incomes for individuals with an adjusted gross income of over $100,000 per year ($200,000 for joint filers). Net: $2.58 billion in the first 2 years. Bonus: Pair with a 50% reduction in state property tax, and still net $1 billion.

Now is not the time to patch over a budget shortfall with bond measures and a temporary sales tax increase. Reforming our tax system will take bold and responsible leadership — but that’s how we’ll lay the groundwork for an economic recovery now and sustainable growth in the years to come.

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Posted in State Economy, Tax and Budget

Comments

  1. Steve Langenbeck says:

    Yes, jacking taxes on the most productive members of society gives you nice gains the first year, and then you collect less tax than before the change.

    This is proven over and over.

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