Nope, Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen doesn’t do yoga. How else to explain this editorial?
YOGA studios ought to be subject to the retail sales tax imposed on all physical-fitness services.
[…] Personal services are a growing segment of the economy, growing much faster than other types of retail trade. Yoga businesses have been in a catchall of services that include motivational speakers. It is time to quantify them and put them in the proper tax code.
So… um… if the sales tax were to be extended to yoga studios, how would this not be one of those dreaded tax increase thingies that the Times so resolutely opposes?
Of course, it would be a tax increase, and an absolutely reasonable one. As even the Times points out, personal services are becoming an ever larger portion of our post-industrial economy, while retail trade proportionally shrinks. For that matter, business services (accounting, legal, consulting, etc.) are growing much faster than retail as well.
The result is that our sales tax—WA state government’s largest revenue source—is levied on an ever smaller portion of our economy, year over year, creating a long-term structural deficit that simply cannot keep pace with either economic growth or the lockstep growth in demand for public services.
So in a state that insists on remaining one of the few in the nation to resist an income tax, it’s not just yoga studios to which the sales tax needs to be extended, but most other personal and business services as well. And if the thought of that ties Frank up in knots, I know a yoga instructor who can help.
As long as Frank’s paper is lobbying to extend the sales tax to other businesses, we might want to consider eliminating the current sales tax exemption on newspapers. I’m just sayin’…