Finally… a tax cut targeted at families who need it

As an advocate for progressive tax reform I didn’t have high hopes for the current legislative session. Despite near supermajorities in both houses, the Democratic leadership seemed content to play it safe heading into the 2008 election… the nation’s most regressive tax structure be damned. But it turns out I may have been too pessimistic.

State Sen. Craig Pridemore introduced today SB 6809, a bill that would extend a state sales tax refund to the 350,000 Washington households who qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, putting an average of $170 annually back into the pockets of working families. Rep. Tammy Green is introducing a companion bill in the House, and word is that the bill has strong support from both Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, and House Speaker Frank Chopp. A tax cut targeted at those who need it most? Who’d a thunk?

Washington’s lowest income families currently pay 18 percent of their income in state and local taxes, whereas our wealthiest pay just 3 percent. The “Working Families Credit” would offer a maximum rebate of $470 (10 percent of the federal EITC,) effectively reducing the recipient’s sales and consumption taxes by about 30 percent. Other states offer similar extensions to the EITC, but Washington would be the first such state without an income tax. The Washington State Budget and Policy Center has issued a policy paper with more details.

It will be interesting to see the response to this Democratic bill, as the federal EITC generally enjoys broad bipartisan support, and tax cuts tend to be the Republican solution to everything from recession to gout. I’m particularly curious to see on which side the Seattle Times editorial board falls; I suppose it is possible they might argue that the bill’s estimated $60 million a year cost is ill advised in this time of economic uncertainty, but that would seem disingenuous coming from a board that recently argued so vociferously for eliminating the estate tax, thus granting a $100 million a year tax break to the children of multi-millionaires.

I’m not sure how one argues against the Working Families Credit… but I’m pretty sure some folks will try.

Comments

  1. 1

    spews:

    I think it is odd to tax and return. The handling of the money alone must cost a few percent.

    How do folks n this caregory ay taxes???

    a. some portion likley iks paid indiorectly through rent
    b. some portion goes to sales tax on non-food items. Whar t are these? fuel and clothing? In this category is the tax on those things a big part of their tax?

    Woulsn;t it be easier to NOT pretend that this is a tax rebate and simply increase welfare?

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It’s a step in the right direction but no substitute for broad tax reform.

    I honestly don’t know how local Republicans will react to this idea. Positively, I hope. But I’m not real optimistic about that, as it’s out of character for GOPers to do anything to help anyone except themselves. At the federal level, it initially appeared that Bush would hold a stimulus package hostage for making his tax cuts for the rich permanent and eliminating the inheritance tax — a deal-breaker for sure. He toned down his demands, but is still holding out for channeling a third of the tax rebates to business taxpayers and, while he might not veto spending increases for food stamps and unemployment benefits, he sure as hell isn’t enthusiastic about them. Instead of over-my-dead-body he’ll grit-my-teeth-and-sign-it under the pressure of a collapsing stock market and his Wall Street friends ringing his phone off the hook.

    The big picture is that the Fed’s interest rate slashing and Congress’ stimulus scheme are damned bad for the economy. These moves will ignite inflation, refuel the excesses that created this mess, and make us eat a much bigger recession later — all so politicians of both parties can postpone economic pain until after the election. It’s cynical as all get out, and you and I are going to pay where it hurts for this grandstanding. Better to eat the recession now and get it over with before it turns into an infection that requires amputation of the whole limb.

  3. 3

    spews:

    Roger ..

    If this is meant as a stimulus to the economy, why the gimmick of pretending it is a tax rebate?

    If we want to stimulate the economy, isn’t the best way to do that to spend money that will get recycled? If one just gifts the poor across the board, doesn’t that quickly go into the corporate maw as a small margin of Exonian Excess?

    FDR primed the economy with public works projects. At least the end result of that was capital imporvements that continue to generate value.

    What if the saenm dollars were invested in low income housing?

  4. 5

    Two Dogs spews:

    @2 It’s interesting that the sentiment in the last sentence above — don’t mess with it, let the recession take its course — is exactly what Ron Paul is saying, and it’s probably correct as well. Bush 41 adopted the same hands-off approach to the 1990-91 recession, and that’s probably one big reason he lost in 1992. It is very interesting, of course, that the current gang, and most Republicans in power nationally, want to tweak the system in any way they can for their own preconceived advantage. OK, but that is certainly not not the laissez-faire approach.

    Regarding SB6809, it seems to me that this gets the state in the business of collecting information people’s incomes, something that would be a necessary step towards a state income tax. The whole approach is based on looking at people’s federal income tax returns and coordinating the rebate with the EITC, which is documented in the federal return. Most states coordinate their income taxes with the federal income tax. So the paperwork that people will have to file under this law will basically be what would be required under a state income tax. I am personally not opposed to a state income tax, but this certainly seems like a foot in the door, and that’s what we are likely to hear about from Republicans.

    I do think that rebating income tax to low income people is a worthy goal. In other words, I am not philosophically opposed to tweaking if it is truly in the best interests of the low income beneficiaries, and all of us. Seattle Jew @1 asks, wouldn’t it be better just to increase welfare? I don’t know about that since many of the people targeted here aren’t on welfare. A better approach along these lines would be to increase programs that benefit the targeted recipients, schools in low income areas, libraries, etc., all of the things that are still underfunded. But these options cannot be spun as tax cuts and therefore don’t have a prayer of bipartisan support.

    An alternative tax cutting approach would be to increase the categories exempted from sales tax beyond food. Where I grew up back East, clothing sold to kids under 16 was exempted from sales tax. It was interesting when you approached that age and had to take ID to the clothing store, but the concept was in the right direction. I don’t know how far we could go with $60 million, but it might be a good strategy for the Democrats to propose targeted sales tax exemption extensions that would help low income people with the necessities of life. This has the benefit, from the Democrats point of view, of a proposal that would actually help people and that could be supported using the Republicans own tax-cutting rhetoric. The proposal in SB6809 has some of these advantages, but I worry about the paperwork burden as well as the bureaucratic overhead (although the latter will certainly be much less than the Republican opponents will claim, but this is another argument they may try to make). But are there increases in the scope of the sales tax exemption that would achieve the same purpose without the problems I’ve cited above?

  5. 6

    spews:

    Jew @1,

    It is a local extension of the EITC, and it most certainly is NOT welfare. The amount of the credit increases with work, and thus incentivizes it. It is a tax credit the working poor get back from what they’ve paid. We could cut the tax rate on working families… if we had an income tax… but we don’t, so this is a reasonable alternative.

    Two Dogs @5,
    This should not require collecting information. By law the IRS must give states information on who is receiving the EITC. The state can simply take the data from the feds and cut the checks.

  6. 7

    rhp6033 spews:

    I’m not sure how one argues against the Working Families Credit… but I’m pretty sure some folks will try.

    “It’s a foot in the door to an income tax!” (harrumph, harrumph). “It doesn’t do anything for the producers, and rewards the working poor who are too dumb or lazy to be rich like us” (harrumph, harrumph). “It’s our money, why don’t they give it back to all of us rich folks as well, they pay more than the poor folks do” (harrumph, harrumph). “If you abolished welfare, then you wouldn’t need the earned income credit to entice the working poor to keep working – starvation would make them take any job, at any subsistance wage we decide to generously grant them”. (harrumph, harrumph). “If you gave the money to the rich instead of giving it to the poor, then a little bit would trickle down to the poor after they earn it by doing degrading work for me at subsistence wages”. (harrumph, harrumph).

  7. 8

    Brian spews:

    How is the wonder Chimp ! looking foward too the big show this weekend , I hope you can tell us then if Lethargic Luke Burbank is Bryan Styble’s Little Brother ? well Chris be back behind the glass ? Hooty hoo !

  8. 9

    Chris spews:

    So, if the wealthiest pay only 3% and the poorest pay 18%, why not just institute a flat tax and collect 12% from everyone? That way the wealthier pay more, the poorest pay less, and everyone pays the exact same percentage.

    /eyelash-flutter

  9. 10

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    First I have no problem giving the working poorer people a tax break. So show that up your ass Clueless Fool.

    Second give incentives to poor people to get educated. But require a GPA standard to keep them motivated. A free handout is still a free handout. People need to earn it.

    Third, “thus granting a $100 million a year tax break to the children of multi-millionaires.”…

    is more class warfare. If their parents worked hard and gots the dough legally, why do donkeys want to take away from their heirs? This disincentivizes people to do better in live if they know upon death the donkey will swoop in and take most of it. When has a poor person created a business or a job?

    I’ll wait for the answer for #3…

  10. 11

    correctnotright spews:

    @10:

    I agree with Puddy that working poor should get a tax break. I also like the idea of education incentives with GPA requirements.
    (2 out of 3 is not bad)

    But:
    According to Puddy the CEOs (at, say, Wamu) who have worked real hard for their millions (while they driven their company to record losses and job cuts for the working middle class) should get to keep their “hard earned” windfalls and not pay the same percentage as the average woerking person (since they can hire the high priced lawyers to find the loopholes in the tax system).

    No – CEO salaries are obscene and they should be taxed at 50% – because their heirs don’t need and shouldn’t get to stand on billions of dollars (as William Gates about that) and the inhertance should be taxed too (the heirs still will get a bundle – but who needs billions for a start in life?).

  11. 12

    rhp6033 spews:

    Uh, Puddy, do you see the inconsistency of these two statements:

    Statement One:
    Second give incentives to poor people to get educated. But require a GPA standard to keep them motivated. A free handout is still a free handout. People need to earn it.”

    Statement Two:
    “Third, ‘thus granting a $100 million a year tax break to the children of multi-millionaires.’… is more class warfare. If their parents worked hard and gots the dough legally, why do donkeys want to take away from their heirs? This disincentivizes people to do better in live if they know upon death the donkey will swoop in and take most of it.”

    How come, if you give a tax break to the poor (as proposed in the original post), they then the poor have to “earn it”, but you can’t tax the rich because “their parents worked hard and gots (sic) the dough legally”. Why is it “robbery” to tax the rich (to use an analogy you used on a previous topic), but the poor people have to work twice for the same money?

    Am I missing something in your argument?

    Also:
    “When has a poor person created a business or a job?”

    Everytime he spends money on rent, food, clothing, etc., a poor person helps support somone else’s job. And I know quite a few “working poor” who have full-time jobs and also run a part-time businesses, just to help make ends meet.

  12. 13

    spews:

    Talk about stating the obvious. Low income families all over earth pay a higher percentage of their income for EVERYTHING than wealthy people do. A gallon of gas, as a percentage of their income, is more. A bag of Doritos, as a percentage of their income, is more. The working family credit wouldn’t change this. The only thing that would, and I think Goldy is hinting that he would like to see this, is if everyone be paid the same wage. A bus boy should be paid the same as an ER surgeon. A janitor should be paid the same as a Senator. That is the ONLY way to make things cost the same, as a percentage of income, for everyone.

    And one thing Goldy isn’t telling you, is that the richest 10% pay 47% of all state and local taxes. The poorest 50 percent’s income account for only 14% of all state and local taxes.

  13. 14

    acres of clams spews:

    @10

    Good points, numbers 1 and 2.

    Point 3: Sounds like you are trying to set the terms of the debate while your ass is tied up in a knot. Have you really thought this one out, or are you just trying to win an argument of your own making?

    Your statement, “When has a poor person created a business or a job?”, is disingenuous. What guarantee do we have that the “multi-millionaire’s children (with the $100 million a year tax break)” will offer anybody a job? Do you care?

    But why am I wasting my time responding to somebody who is just a troll?

  14. 15

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Rhp6033: The rich pay how much in taxes already? I suggest when the rich buy a yacht, they pay more in taxes than I do for a whole year. I suggest a PuddyStudy of the IRS site. Or you can visit Rush Limbaugh’s site as he keeps his chart up-to-date.

    So upon death you want to take even more away from their estate?

    I said create a job, not support a job.

  15. 16

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Clammyacres: My ass is never in a knot.

    I didn’t set the premise to #3, the blog owner did. look at the IRS tax receipts from rich people. But you’ll never find George Soros there. He don’t pay income taxes and brags all about it.

    I wear my “troll” badge brightly. I polish it every day thank you very much.

  16. 18

    spews:

    @6 Goldy ..

    If I understand yourt point, the idea is that the State is rebating a part mof the Federal tax?

    Put ahnother way, thyis seemns almost like an inverse income tax …for peole who earn below a certain level, they get a subsidy to help pay their taxes?

  17. 19

    acres of clams spews:

    @13
    “The only thing that would, and I think Goldy is hinting that he would like to see this, is if everyone be paid the same wage.”

    Whose ass did this gem get pulled out of? Obviously, troll, not everybody should be paid the same wage.

    You should be paid less.

  18. 20

    YLB spews:

    So upon death you want to take even more away from their estate?

    Yep, that’s where the money is to pay for Veterans health care, Star Wars and other weapon systems boondoggles, endless wars, cost-plus contracts for Bush’s cronies, etc.

  19. 21

    Richard Pope spews:

    Puddybud @ 16

    Don’t we need to change the income tax code so that people like Mr. Sore-os pay income tax as well?

    And for every Sore-os who supports the Democrats, there is at least one superwealthy conniver who supports the Republicans.

  20. 22

    spews:

    It seems to me that the advantage of SB 6809 is that iy=t forces the issue of inequity of the sales tax/real estate tax paradigm.

    In a sense it rewards people who need to work for working.

    As for troll et al, if you really believe it would be most fair to tax folks equally, thew it makes most sense to tax foks not on what they erarn but on their wealthiness. This recongnizes that the wealth benefit the most form our shared society. So, I assume you would join me in supporting a combination of a savings EXEMPTION to the income tax combined with a flat tax on wealth above a minimum that described=s what we feel is the minimum each American must have tof unction?

  21. 23

    rhp6033 spews:

    Puddy at 15:

    You still aren’t responding to my question. Why is it the rich are supposed to be immune from taxes because they (or their parents) already “earned it”, but when the poor ask for a rebate on their taxes (as proposed in the original post), they have to “earn” it again?

    And speaking of “earning it”:

    When my kids were in crew (rowing), we would participate in fundraisers to support the team. One of the projects was for the kids to pass out programs at Husky Stadium during football games, and for the parents to serve as ushers during the games. It really was a lot of fun, and the club earned some money in the process.

    But during one game with Oregon State, the fans were intentionally breaking the bleachers on the east end zone. When I confronted an Oregon student who as encouraging others to jump up and down on the seats until they broke, I warned him that the U.W. could just bill O.S. for the damage, and he wouldn’t want that, would he? (Yea, it was a bluff, but I hoped it would work). His response? He just smiled and said “Hell, yea, go ahead! My Dad will just write out a check.” Then he made some disparaging remarks about my ability to earn a living, as I have to work as an usher, so I must not be very intelligent.

    The kid who was beside me, doing a work-study job emptying the trash cans at the stadiums, just shook his head. “I see idiots like this all the time”, he said.

    So tell me again about how the “producer’s kid” who is trying to wreck the stadium, expecting his dad to pay for any damages, is somehown entitled to a free ride from his father’s inheritance without paying a portion of it to support the government which protects him, while the parents of this work-study kid have to prove that he “earns” any partial return on the taxes his parents pay?

    Will you step back from ideological rants to take a rational look at your own position, and see that it is internally inconsistent in this instance?

  22. 24

    spews:

    Sez SeattleJew:

    If I understand yourt [sic] point, the idea is that the State is rebating a part mof [sic] the Federal tax?

    No, not at all. It’s rebating state money using the value on a line of the federal tax return as the basis for calculating the rebate.

  23. 25

    thorn spews:

    Putty doesn’t answer questions.

    She creates false arguments, “wins” them, and then pays herself with a self-created and self-signed, blank check.

    All this before doing the foot tap in the nearest public men’s room.

    Right Miss. butt?

  24. 26

    spews:

    Chris @9,
    FYI, the average WA household pays about 10.3% of their income in state and local taxes. I would support replacing all or most of the state sales and property tax with a flat state income tax with a relatively generous individual exemption. I’d prefer a progressive income tax, but a flat tax would be incredibly more fair and sustainable than what we have now.

    Puddinghead @10,
    This is NOT a “free handout.” This is a TAX CUT for working families.

    Jew @18,
    No, the state is not rebating part of the federal tax. The state is using the federal EITC as a measure for indexing a rebate of state sales and consumption taxes.

  25. 27

    Two Dogs spews:

    @26 and 9

    How about we go forward with a flat income tax proposal. Income not to be determined via the federal return, but rather a simple tax like the on proposed by Steve Forbes a few elections back. A one-page simple return, a 10% tax, an offsetting reduction in sales tax, and leave it at that. Again, this is consistent with Republican rhetoric and it’s much fairer than what we have now.

  26. 28

    YLB spews:

    The fairest tax is the progressive income tax. Each contributes to the maintenance of the government at a level they can in theory afford.

    The trick is the “afford” part. Other countries seem to get this right – Switzerland, Scandinavian countries.

    The other trick is to control government spending. We haven’t controlled the largest discretionary item – defense – since the 50’s and Eisenhower warned it was getting out of control when he left office.

    U.S. Comptroller David Walker said in a hearing I saw that the Defense Department is only the government entity that cannot pass a GAO audit. I’m all for an effective military and carrying on a tradition of military service that runs strong in a lot of families but not at the expense of bankrupting the country through corporate welfare.

  27. 30

    Chris spews:

    @28
    The problem with a progressive income tax is that it introduces situations in which moving up to a higher tax bracket results in punishment for earning a higher salary. If I am paying 15% and that $2,000 raise bumps me up to having to pay 20%, was it really a raise? Add into this situation a myriad of exemptions, credits, deductions, itemizations, and it becomes a mess. Those who want to avoid the highest tax burdens can afford to hire accountants to hide their money under various shells.

    A flat tax is fair, easy, and sufficient for our needs as a country and a state.

  28. 31

    spews:

    TwoDogs @27,
    Forbes “simple tax” rhetoric was bullshit. There’s nothing complicated about calculating one’s tax. The complication is in figuring all your exemptions, deductions and credits. PA has a graduated state income tax, and I used to file it by filling out a postcard. (Take line X from your 1040 and multiply it by the rate shown in simple table on the back.)

    One can create a simple, graduated income tax. Likewise, one can create a complicated flat tax. The complexity of the return has nothing to do with the rate.

  29. 32

    spews:

    Uh oh…speaking of elected crooks and liars, looks as though another big city Demo mayor, Detroit’s Kwame Kilpatrick, was caught in flagrante delicto AND in flagrante perjurum.

    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.....#038;imw=Y

    Lying about an affair and doing it…UNDER OATH! How’s that potential disbarrment working’ for ya, Kwame?

    Must be a graduate of the Frat Boy Bill School of Political Nookie Gnashing and Afterthought Lying About It. Kwame does Bubba one better, however, by stepping up in the world from an intern to his own chief of staff, one Christine Beatty.

    I guess we know what staff she was chief of! Go, Geronimo, go!!!

    The Piper

  30. 33

    YLB spews:

    up to a higher tax bracket results in punishment for earning a higher salary.

    Not if you get the rate right, i.e. the bracket is indexed for inflation.

    Again other countries get this right – people pay much higher tax rates and they have plenty left over to enjoy life. And they don’t have to worry about medical emergencies and education.

    All the other stuff you talk about should be eliminated as much as possible.

  31. 34

    spews:

    Golkdy

    I think this sort of spin is bad policy. The sate can not rebate a tax it does not have any record of.

    It seems to me to be cleaner and more honest to say WAstate wants to reward people who earn mone7y at the marginal level, the working poor. Here is how e are going to do it!

    I know working poor people who spend no money on anything taxable. I know others who are in the WP class who spend a lot on the sales tax, I really do not think I want to get the atate invlved in making that distinction, do you?

    Bottom line, I see your logic and agreee this is a good isea. I just think that less spin and more logic makes government better.

    BTW, is a wealth tax constitutional in WAS?

  32. 35

    rhp6033 spews:

    27: The adavantage of linking the state tax to the federal income tax form is that we don’t have to re-create a good portion of the federal tax code, and the beauracracy to audit compliance, to arrive at the definition of what is, and what is not, “income” from which the tax is calculated. Just look up the line on the federal tax return which refers to “adjusted income”, and use that number. It’s usually towards the bottom of the first page of the standard 1040 form.

    Trying to replace it with a state-defined definition of “income” would unnecessarily complicate the state taxes, lead to temptations to “adjust” the definition, thereby complicating taxpayer’s burden in completing the returns.

    The only problem I see with any state tax which is dependent upon an income basis is (a) whether it makes a difference whether the income is earned in this state or another, and accounting for that difference, and (b) dealing with residents who enter the state in the middle of a tax year. Aside from that, it can be relatively easy.

  33. 36

    ArtFart spews:

    If one of the issues is “stimulating” the economy to stave off a recession, it would make a smidgen of sense for those states with budget surpluses to return some of the money back to the people. This is as opposed to the already-broke Federal government printing more money and flailing it around. That’s only going to plunge us into a Wiemar Republic scenario where people ended up burning the currency to keep warm.

    On the other hand, whatever we do here by ourselves in piddly-ass Washington isn’t going to have a measurable effect on the national or world economy. It also remains that things have already been allowed to get so out of whack that wherever any such “government largesse” comes from, most people will just use it to pay off their outstanding bills.

  34. 37

    Cleve spews:

    Great post, great thread and great idea by Pridemore.

    “Washington’s lowest income families currently pay 18 percent of their income in state and local taxes, whereas our wealthiest pay just 3 percent.”

    What does that mean for real families?

    Let’s contrast Washington with Idaho and Oregon, where the burden of state and local income taxes falls in a fairly flat line across all the income groups, more or less. It’s around 9 percent, I believe.

    Compared to those systems, low income Washingtonians are losing almost 9% of their income a year to the “excess” taxes they pay in our unfair system (they pay 18% now but would pay about 9% if taxes were flat). That means that someone making $25,000 a year in Washington is hurt by $2,225 (roughly 9 points) – that’s how much they would save by just moving to Idaho or Oregon.

    Wealthy Washingtonians are benefiting by 6% of their income (they pay 3% instead of 9%). That means someone making $150,000 a year is benefiting by $9,000 (roughly 6 points) due to the unfairness in our tax system (its generosity to the higher income groups). They don’t get a state grant of $9,000 a year, but in effect that’s what is built into our tax system, compared to Oregon or Idaho’s. This means a wealthier person would lose $9,000 a year by moving to Oregon, or to that super liberal state called Idaho.

    You might call it the class tax — the tax on being poor/reward for being rich, that is built into our system.

    It’s why proposals to raise the sales tax are so unfair to working families. (As in Prop. 1).

    And its why, when the wealthier folks say they cannot afford paying a few hundred dollars a year more (as in Prop. 1), it’s clear they exaggerate. After all, similar folks right across the border handle paying $9,000 more every year, with no apparent harm at all.

  35. 38

    spews:

    Why don’t we simply cut spending? And taxes across the board? Where is it written that anyone has a right to anyone else’s money or property on the theory that they have “too much?” Who’s to say that some bechak driver in Jakarta wouldn’t think Goldy has way to much and want to take from him?

    The purpose of tax policy ought to be to raise revenue for essential government services. Period. A flat rate with a floor works for me. No deductions, exemptions, incentives or other bogus crap like that.

    The reason your PA tax return was so easy, Goldy, was that the nasty and complicated stuff was all hidden in your federal return. Had there been a federal flat tax, no doubt the Pennsy peeps would have created formulas only an algebra teacher could love.

    While some may pay a higher percentage of income, it’s still true that those with the highest incomes pay the overwhelming majority of taxes:

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi /04in06tr.xls

    96.70% of all taxes are paid by the top 50% of wage earners.
    84.86% of all taxes are paid by the top 25% of wage earners.
    69.19% of all taxes are paid by the top 10% of wage earners.
    57.13% of all taxes are paid by the top 5% of wage earners.
    36.89% of all taxes are paid by the top 1% of wage earners.
    Again, this is from IRS generated data for 2004.

    Here’s a fair-share tax plan: Divide the number of people in the U.S. into the amount of revenue needed, and send each a bill for their share. No deductions, exemptions, strings to pull, or anything.

    If you don’t like how much a CEO is paid, don’t buy products from that company, otherwise do business with it, or invest in it. It’s a private transaction between the manager and his employer. If that transaction has some secondary or ancillary effect upon you, then welcome to life. You still have options and ways to minimize the effects.

    Simply because it shocks your conscience is no reason to make policy. My conscience is shocked by confiscatory levels of taxation, double taxation, and profligate, wasteful spending (think earmarks and most social spending).

    The government shouldn’t be anyone’s nanny; it’s incapable, unqualified, and degrading.

    Time to quit suckling at the government teat.

    The Piper

  36. 39

    Conservatives are traitors spews:

    PS @ 38:

    Here’s a thought; Read the Constituion and learn your American history.

    A little math would help, too.

  37. 40

    spews:

    Crack Piper @38,

    Here’s a fair-share tax plan: Divide the number of people in the U.S. into the amount of revenue needed, and send each a bill for their share. No deductions, exemptions, strings to pull, or anything.

    So… um… my 10 year old daughter should pay the same amount in taxes as, say, Bill Gates? And when she can’t pay her taxes (and she can’t) do we send her to prison?

    The reason we compare taxes as a percentage of personal income is because it is both a measure of one’s ability to pay, and a broad measure of one’s consumption of government services. Growth in demand for government services tracks growth in the economy; you can question that if you want, but that is a fact.

  38. 41

    spews:

    You continue to do great work here. SeattleIAM.com has chosen this blog article as one of the top articles in Seattle for January 24, 2008. The SeattleIAM Daily Blog Review can be found on NowPublic.com and Newsvine.com

  39. 42

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Goldy: If you are going to attack me at least attack the correct statement!

    I said: QUOTE Second give incentives to poor people to get educated. But require a GPA standard to keep them motivated. A free handout is still a free handout. People need to earn it.UNQUOTE

    Nuff said!

  40. 43

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    To all of you attacking me on “thus granting a $100 million a year tax break to the children of multi-millionaires.”, you should go read the tax laws…

    They get taxed other ways.

  41. 44

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    To rhp6033: That’s a sad story. But what does that have to do with taxation except the morons destroying the seats should be castrated to not produce anymore (Pelletizer humor).

  42. 45

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    #28 YLB says:

    The fairest tax is the progressive income tax. Each contributes to the maintenance of the government at a level they can in theory afford.

      
    Come on, just say it. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Everyone knows you are extreme-left in your thinking.

  43. 46

    Thomas Jefferson spews:

    Serious question here. Please explain why, the higher the income the less likely to actually need government services, and yet the more that liberals think should be paid. Why?

    Is that “fair”? Is it equitable that if I’ve forgone, and sacrificed for years, such that I am finally rewarded with a salary commensurate with my education, or experience, or whatever, I should now willingly subsidize those who might be lazy, or irresponsible, or dull?

  44. 47

    YLB spews:

    45 – Nice way to “Hannitize” my words there Stamm.

    The progressive income tax was mainstream enough for this country through the presidencies of FDR though Carter.

    I submit the extremism came from Reagan on.

    Even countries praised for their low taxes like Switzerland have a progressive income tax.

    If I’m “extreme left”, what are you? Centrist? Didn’t you vote for Nader? Nader has railed against corporatism all his life.

    Silly…

  45. 48

    Two Dogs spews:

    Goldy @31 — I agree with your anaysis of Forbes’ proposal and the fact that “simple” and “flat” are not the same thing. I was suggesting that by proposing an income tax that’s both simple and flat for the state, we could use the Republicans’ own rhetoric to support it.

  46. 49

    YLB spews:

    the higher the income the less likely to actually need government services

    BULLSHIT! – Do you need national defense, public health and safety, a working judicial system. Do you owe something to the Veterans who lost a limb for you?

    Hell yes!

  47. 50

    YLB spews:

    Is it equitable that if I’ve forgone, and sacrificed for years, such that I am finally rewarded

    You didn’t get there all by yourself. The government played a role. This internet we’re typing on started with government R&D.

    Look if you don’t like your high tax rates, then what would you change?

    Me, I’d want the defense department to pass a GAO audit. I’d start with that. Every other government entity can pass that according to Walker, the U.S. Comptroller.

  48. 51

    YLB spews:

    I should now willingly subsidize those who might be lazy, or irresponsible, or dull?

    My solution to that is to make people pay something. Not so little that it doesn’t mean anything not so much that you’re in hock forever. My wife paid almost 6 grand for 2 years of education to be a Medical Assistant. A job that pays about 30 grand a year.

    That’s too much. Two grand and change would have been just about right.

    People usually get more out of something if they have to pony up their own money.

  49. 52

    Joke of a move spews:

    This package is beyond lame. No tax cuts for people who pay the most in taxes??? You gotta be kidding?? Good for the items to help small business, but the market would be REALLY impressed by some actual permanent tax cuts. This is a mere bandaid, and won’t be enough to get things hopping like they should. I would so love to be wrong on this, but democrats really don’t know how to do this.

  50. 54

    Joke of a move spews:

    That is…Index for INFLATION the Alternative Minimum Tax NOW! Why aren’t you all clamoring for this needed fix? The middle class is being hit with the alternative minimum tax and it’s wrong. It should only be hitting the very highest of the high income earners, and should be dropped from its current 25-28% rates to 10%, where it started, back when. In its present form it is simply a way to nullify tax cuts without having to tell taxpayers they took away tax cuts. Insulting.

  51. 55

    Joke of a move spews:

    That whole ‘wealthiest pay only 3% in state and local taxes” thing is a complete lie.

  52. 57

    Joke of a move spews:

    people who didn’t pay income tax don’t need a tax cut.That’s the argument against rebates to the lowest income earners. Simple.

  53. 58

    YLB = Yugo-driving Lowry-loser Barf-tard spews:

    52 – 57: Ditto ditto ditto. That Republicans acceded to this nonsense is nonsense.

  54. 59

    Cleve spews:

    @38:

    “Why don’t we simply cut spending and cut taxes across the board?” Irrelevant — we are talking about whether the tax burden is fairly distributed. Raise all or lower all taxes and the distribution issue is still there.

    “Where is it written that anyone has a right to anyone else’s money or property on the theory that they have “too much?””

    In the Constitution of the USA and Washington State it is written that the majority can make laws, including taxes, relating to the general welfare or the powers given to Congress. As a result, the majority has the power to enact laws based on whatever theory they like, to tax other people.

    An income tax is also specified in one of our US constitutional amendments.

    This is called majority rule, or democracy. It includes taking other people’s money through taxes.

    Most supporters of fair tax systems are not operating on the theory you suggest, that rich people have toomuch. They are operating on the theory that richer folks can easier afford a larger proportional burden than the poor. Loading up on the poor could leave them without enough money for housing, education or health, which means they can’t be productive, and that’s unproductive.

    If you take your kids backpacking you don’t make each of them carry a backpack of the same weight. You might make your 18 year old son carry a 45 pound pack, and your 10 year old daughter carry a 22 pound pack. There is no implication the son was bad, or is too strong.

    “The purpose of tax policy ought to be to raise revenue for essential government services. Period.” If you convince a majority of your views and get them to elect a majority in the legislature, and pass laws embodying your views, you win. You have democratic rights same as those of us who think otherwise. But there is nothing in our founding documents that embodies your theory.

    “A flat rate with a floor works for me. No deductions, exemptions, incentives or other bogus crap like that.”
    As suggested in my prior post, a flat rate for state and local income taxes would be a boon to the poorest in our state worth a few thousand dollars a year. And it would cost the wealthiest a few thousand dollars a year, too. Very glad you are taking such a radical progressive position and engaging in social engineering.

    You might want to join us at Montlake Ale House one day soon!

  55. 60

    rhp6033 spews:

    Puddy at 44: It is an illustration that you can’t judge the merits of an individual based upon his economic class (in either direction).

    So why do you “assume” that the rich will be the “producers”, and any tax cut you give to them will invariable result in a more efficient use of the money and produce more jobs, and yet a tax cut to the poor must be justified again by the poor (i.e., they must prove that they “earn” it by only using it for educational purposes, and receive a minimum G.P.A.).

    If we applied the same standard consistently, regardless of classes, any tax cut to the rich would be dependent upon them proving that they used it to actually create more jobs. And by that I mean that they didn’t just shuffle jobs between one company to another, create a company where most of the jobs were outsourced, etc.