Tax on high incomes would improve quality of life in Washington State

Recent legislative dialogue and a bill introducing a tax on high incomes have injected new life into state budget discussions.

It’s a welcome change from the debate so far. Tough times call for creative thinking about our public investments, not a slash and burn approach that endangers our quality of life.

Public structures like health care for children, access to higher education and worker retraining, and a robust economic safety net (unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, etc.) make this state an attractive place to work, start a business or raise a family.

Here are a few ways we can ensure we have the revenue we need to make such important investments:

  • Close selected tax breaks and increase the B&O tax credit for small business. Net: $270 million in the next biennium. Bonus: Help spur investment, promote entrepreneurship and restore jobs for small business.
  • Expand the sales tax base to include candy, gum, bottled water and certain services. Net: over $1 billion in state and local revenue, and update or tax system for the 21st century. Bonus: improved health for children and adults.
  • Institute a tax on high incomes for individuals with an adjusted gross income of over $100,000 per year ($200,000 for joint filers). Net: $2.58 billion in the first 2 years. Bonus: Pair with a 50% reduction in state property tax, and still net $1 billion.

Now is not the time to patch over a budget shortfall with bond measures and a temporary sales tax increase. Reforming our tax system will take bold and responsible leadership — but that’s how we’ll lay the groundwork for an economic recovery now and sustainable growth in the years to come.

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