The Seattle Times editorial board is at it again:
In unemployment pay, Washington is not a cheap state, nor is either side — labor and business — proposing to make it one. It has the fifth-highest unemployment benefit among the states and the sixth-highest level of taxes.
Really? WA has the sixth-highest level of taxes? According to whom, and by what measure?
According to the conservative Tax Foundation, Washington’s state and local tax burden ranked 35th as a percentage of personal income in 2008, dead even with Mississippi, while WA’s own Department of Revenue had us ranked 28th in 2006. Both the Tax Foundation and the state DOR pull their numbers from the US Census Bureau. Furthermore, the Tax Foundation ranks WA as having the 12th best “business tax climate” in the nation.
So where does the Times get its number that ranks WA with the sixth-highest level of taxes? They don’t tell you, but I’m pretty sure the only math that could get us anywhere near that high would be to calculate total state, local and federal taxes per capita, a bullshit number for comparative purposes that even then they’d still have to fudge.
On average, Washington is not a high tax state. It’s simply not. And if the Times is going to insist on making that assertion, even in passing, they have an ethical obligation to back it up with real numbers.