The Washington State House and Senate have proposed budgets to fund education as required by the McCleary decision. In the Senate bill, additional revenue comes from increasing the property tax in the wealthy areas of Seattle and from draconian cuts to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and elimination of the Housing and Emergency Needs program. Poverty shortchanged by a budget and a regressive tax system doesn’t motivate the poor or please the rest of us; it makes the poor desperate.
The idea of taxing everyone proportionally the same, and everyone paying the same stake for government with the same degree of sacrifice, is turned upside down by the current tax structure. The state disproportionately burdens middle- and low-wage earners by an over-reliance on revenue from sales tax. Poor residents pay 16.8 percent of family income in state and local taxes, while the wealthiest 1 percent pay only 2.4 percent.
Increasing revenue as required by the state budget in a way of shared sacrifice proportional to the means is a capital gains tax paid by the richest 1 percent of households. Pay the balance with a carbon tax, an idea economists overwhelmingly support as way to encourage the switch to clean energy.
Mickey Beary, Richland