Yes, you read that headline right. The Seattle Times editorial board has endorsed a state income tax. You know… back in 1969….
A single-rate income tax, adequate safeguards against rocketing property tax and appropriate reductions in other taxes must be devised if the state is to meet its budgetary needs and solve the school support dilemma.
And in 1970….
Property, sales, business and other excise-taxing sources are bearing too heavy a share of the public-expenditure load. Yet vast amounts of fluid wealth in the form of income escape state taxation. This should begin to bear a fair share of the burden. If H.J.R. 42 is defeated, the additional burden on property and excise tax will become unbearable. For these reasons we recommend approval of No. 42.
And in 1972…
Events now on the horizon leave no doubt but that the state administration and the Legislature will be negligent if they do not permit the voters another opportunity to make a judgment on a state income tax and interrelated fiscal policies.
Fiscally, the state is drifting toward shoals; time is running out for it to continue to fund basic responsibilities in public services with its jerry-built tax structure; nor can the state’s businesses and industries develop the immense number of new jobs needed to accommodate the present jobless as well as the younger generation now phasing into the employment market.
And in 1973…
The Times has been a strong advocate of the principle that a state income tax should be instituted as a means (1) to distribute the tax burden more equitably, (2) to gear public revenues more responsibly to economic growth, (3) to reduce pressures on present tax sources, and (4) to provide education with more dependable revenues.
You can read all these editorials and more in Andrew Villeneuve’s extensively researched and well argued historical retrospective on the Times’ tragic descent into editorial dotage over at the NPI Advocate. Really… read the whole thing.
So what’s changed between 1969 and 2010? Not the fundamental laws of economics or our state’s long term structural revenue deficit. No, what I’d argue has changed is the Seattle Times.