Over the past decade, state policy makers have given out an ever‐growing number of business tax breaks in the name of economic development, while our education system falls behind and commuters and goods sit mired in traffic. At the end of 2007, Washington had 567 tax breaks on the books. The legislature adopted fourteen new exemptions in 2008.
Some exemptions, such as those on food and prescription drugs, improve the tax system by making it less regressive. But the cumulative results of too many tax breaks are a smaller tax base and not enough revenue for strong public structures to support a flourishing economy and high quality of life, like education, transportation, and health care.
The economic downturn provides state policymakers the opportunity
to embrace a more rational economic development strategy. We can expand
investments in our public structures and support new economic growth
by suspending selected business tax breaks to broaden the tax base
and provide new funds, and increasing the small business B&O credit
from $35 to $100 per month, to encourage small business creation and
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