Raymond Shaw Reagan Dunn
King County Council
I enjoyed reading your empassioned column in today’s Seattle Times hawking your “transparency in taxation” proposal. Like you, I have my King County property taxes paid through my mortgage company. It’s easy that way. But that means I don’t get a report on how my taxes are being spent.
Clearly this has been bothering you. On your web site, you stated that you were “stunned to learn recently that nearly half of the property owners in King County do not receive a summary of where their property taxes go.” I’m not sure why it took you so long to finally come to this stunning realization…. I mean, I was so upset when I first moved here that I did something about it.
I learned that there was something called “the Internets,” where all kinds of information is stored in a series of tubes. It was all very confusing and the information was difficult to find until I learned about “the Google.” Now, with a few seconds of work, “the Google” brings me to this tube. When I manipulate my mouse over the proper spot on that tube, and depressed the leftmost switch on the mouse, I find helpful reports on how my tax dollars are being collected and spent. A useful spending summary for 2007 can be found in this tube.
I was thinking…it would cost me a couple of extra buck in property tax to pay to have all this information mailed to me. Don’t you think this borders dangerously on an unnecessary tax increase and growth in government? (Funny…I never used to think of you as a “big government” type.) Instead of growing the government, why not just let people know how to find the proper tubes on the internets for this information?
I found another interesting tube as well: Taxfoundation.org. There I learned that Washington state residences have a tax burden that is just a hair above the average for the United States. The U.S. average is a state and local tax burden of 11.0%, whereas Washingtonians have a state and local tax burden of 11.1%. I noticed that, for the previous 30 years, Washington state residents have had about a 0.5% higher state and local tax burden than the U.S. average. So, the 0.1% we have now is pleasant, but perhaps a little alarming at the same time. I mean, do we really want someplace like Alabama to serve as our model for taxation and government?
Anyway, good luck with your “transparency” project
Raymond Reagan, and may the tubes be with you.