Real reform means holding the line on tax breaks for now

Last week alone, 20 bills were heard in the legislature on tax breaks that would cost the state budget more than $91 million in the 2009-11 biennium and more than $114 million in 2011-13 if they all passed.

Bargaining for tax breaks has become a routine part of doing business. Fearful of losing jobs, Washington, like other states, is giving away public revenue while under-funding the services necessary for a vibrant economy and a healthy democracy.

In the three legislative sessions from 2004 through 2006, the Washington legislature passed at least 61 measures either granting new tax preferences or extending old ones. These new tax breaks will cost the state nearly half a billion dollars in the 2007-09 biennium.

Fortunately, several key members have pledged to hold the line on tax breaks, so it is likely that most will not pass.

Washington definitely needs to revamp its tax structure – but not by eliminating taxes willy-nilly. Our state must still provide the public services essential for a robust private sector economy in the 21st century.

To do so, we need to take a careful look at the whole system of taxation, plug the holes that let some businesses and individuals off scot-free, and come back to the people with a proposal for fair and equitable tax reform that funds our democracy.

  • Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More To Read

September 12, 2023

Everyone Loses Under Washington’s Tax System

Except billionaires. And even they lose.

September 6, 2023

This Washington Shows That Washington: Proposed Federal Overtime Protections Can Go Further

Thanks to the work of advocates, thousands of Washington workers are already getting a better deal at work

August 24, 2023

Is the Wealth Tax Just a Washington Thing?

Multiple states are also fighting to tax the ultra-wealthy. Why now?