Forgive me for answering a question with a question, but when the headline of this morning’s Seattle Times editorial asks “Does Washington state want a sales-tax rate higher than L.A.’s?“, the only reasonable response I can muster is “What the fuck?”
In Seattle, the total general rate is already 9.5 percent. That is higher than New York City’s rate of 8.875 percent and the same as San Francisco’s. If Seattle’s rate goes to 9.8 percent it will be higher than Los Angeles’ 9.75 percent or Chicago’s 9.75 percent, effective July 1.
Raising the state portion of the sales tax to 6.8 percent would likely make Seattle’s rate the highest of any major city in the United States. We think people will notice. We think this will hurt investment, commerce and job creation here.
Yeah, well, we think that people who invest in job creation will notice the entire tax and business climate… you know like the fact that on top of the sales tax, Chicagoans pay a 3% income tax while Los Angelenos pay a top personal rate of 10.3%. Of course, here in Washington, we have no state income tax.
We think people will notice that on every single ranking of business climates, from Forbes Magazine to the conservative Tax Foundation, Washington consistently ranks near the top of the list, while California is buried near the bottom. Likewise, we think that people who look at tax rates when making the decision where to locate their home or business might notice that Washington’s state and local tax “burden” consistently ranks in the bottom two quintiles nationwide, while California ranks in the top.
The point is, the Times’ editors… they can’t have it both fucking ways!
They can’t argue against adding an income tax to the revenue mix by claiming it will turn us into another California, while at the same time bitching that our sales tax — a tax on which we rely for the bulk of our state revenue — now approaches that of, well, California.
Note to Times: we have one of the highest combined sales tax rates in the nation because we have no income tax! Yet when Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown proposed slashing the sales tax by a penny — a better than 10% cut in a Seattleite’s annual sales tax bill — and replacing it with a 4.5% income tax on only the top 1% of wage earners (less than half what they would pay in California), you decried it as an “awful idea.”
Again… what the fuck?
Well, the fuck is that the Times simply opposes all taxes, under any circumstances, for any reason, and all their mock-authoritative sniping on the subject is just sophistry, pure and simple. That’s why the Times only selectively picks at the bits and pieces of our spending and revenue system, and never, ever, ever debates the tax structure as a whole. For to actually talk about taxes in any meaningful way, might just undermine their publisher’s entire political agenda.