Official Wants 5% Income Tax to Fund WA Schools
This is sure to set off controversy in and out of the legislature. The State Treasurer wants an income tax on wealthier families.
Jim McIntire says the state's tax system is to regressive, imposing most of the burden on lower income families and businesses. His idea is to institute a flat across the board 5% income tax, on families making over $50,000, depending upon how many family members.
The tax would exempt families of four or more who make below $50,000. It would also cut the state's sales tax from 6.5% to 5 percent, and he says the money gained would fully fund the McCleary State Supreme Court mandates.
A number of years ago, the State Supreme Court basically ordered the Legislature to step up funding of public education, claiming they were violating the state Constitution by not doing so. This controversial decision, viewed by many as a sever overstep by the court, has resulted in most of the state's budget going towards schools.
McIntire says the tax system has shifted most of the burden for schools onto levies and local taxes, which is says are harmful. Poor districts cannot keep up with wealthier communities under this system.
Although just the mention of the word income tax will send many legislators scurrying to oppose it, Washington state has one of 7 worst state sales tax programs, according to USA Today Money. Our rate of 6.5% is one of the worst (but most effective) in the nation. McIntire's plan would provide a little relief, dropping it 1.5 percent, but this hardly offsets the 5% income tax.
Here's an idea: How about spending state tax revenue more wisely, and a good start is overhauling the Department of Transportation, who has wasted hundreds of millions on the failed Bertha Tunnel project?
Chances are, even if an income tax were to make it into the legislature for 2017, The Coalition in the Senate (a group of GOP and 2 Democrats) would successfully defeat the idea.