Washington Taxes in Dire Need of Reform

Submitted by on

I am a longtime Bothell resident and I was beyond disappointed to hear that Governor Jay Inslee recently announced that he did not believe there was support in the legislature to close the special-interest tax break on capital gains. The legislature is currently held in contempt by the Washington Supreme Court due to its failure to amply fund our public schools as is required by our Constitution.

We cannot cut our way to prosperity, despite the Senate Republican budget proposal to slash funding for mental health, early childhood education, and other social services. Meanwhile, the tax disparity between what working residents and our wealthiest citizens pay is larger in Washington than in any other state in the country. This fact becomes absurd when you consider that Washington is one of only 9 states to have no capital gains tax, or that we have given some of the largest corporate tax breaks in American history to some of the world’s largest companies - who in turn ship jobs out of our state.

If the legislature is unwilling to consider closing the capital gains tax loophole, we must continue looking for new sources of revenue. House Bill 2186 proposes some methods - including improving our statewide business and occupation tax to give tax relief to small businesses while asking larger companies to start paying, improving the real estate excise tax, and closing other special-interest tax breaks. The only way to fund our schools without cutting vital programs is through new revenue, and too many Washington residents are not paying what they owe. It’s time for the legislature to demand that everyone pay taxes in Washington - not just the working class.

A. Sanchez

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