I hadn’t realized it until I saw a link in the comment threads, but the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy recently updated its comprehensive survey, “Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States,” and Washington once again tops the list of the Ten Most Regressive State Tax Systems… and by far.
Hooray for us!
Let’s put this in perspective. If we were to totally eliminate our state and local sales tax, property tax, B&O tax and various excise taxes and fees (gasoline, alcohol, tobacco, etc.), and replace the revenue with a single graduated income tax that levied a 2.9% rate on our wealthiest households (those with an average income of $1.8 million), and a 17.3% rate on our poorest (those earning an average of $11,000), with those in the middle three quintiles paying between 9.5% and 12.7%, it would have the same exact impact on Washington families as our current tax system does now.
Can anybody reasonably argue that such a system would be fair? I don’t think so.
But that’s exactly what we have now.