In the past 20 years, the property tax rate in Washington, and its burden as a percentage of personal income, have been quite stable.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
In fact, I did say it myself, as quoted Sunday in an excellent editorial in the Columbian: “Eyman’s hand is out.”
Not only did I say it, but I can back it up. I have recently posted to TaxSanity.org a preliminary report “The truth about property taxes in Washington state.” The study points out that while Tim Eyman is correct that property taxes have increased from $1 billion to $6.25 billion since 1980, he is absolutely yanking voters’ chains by calling the increase “obscene.”
When you put the numbers in historic and economic context, you find that property tax rates, and total state and local tax burden have not only remained stable, but are actually below historic highs and the national average. This is because property taxes have closely tracked property values and personal income.
Despite Eyman’s lies, it is no secret that Washington is not a high tax state. Indeed, the state Office of Financial Management reports that in 2002, Washington was 31 out the 50 states in aggregate state and local taxes as a percentage of aggregate personal income.
Of course, none of us actually live in the aggregate and due to our astonishingly unfair tax structure (the most regressive in the nation) tax burden is too high on most middle- and lower-income households. The bottom 20% pay over 17.6% of income in state and local taxes while the top 1% pay only 3.3%.
Rather than across the board tax cuts, what we really need is tax reform that has all households pay their fair share. And for the majority of households, their fair share would be lower than they are paying now.