I appreciated Jerry Fraser’s excellent July guest commentary regarding the need for a progressive state income tax.
Having lived in many parts of New York and New England before coming to the Northwest 25 years ago, I can appreciate both sides of the issue. New Hampshire’s state motto on every license plate is “Live Free Or Die”— an excellent sentiment that translates to the state having neither a sales nor an income tax — great for the paycheck. At the time I went to school in N.H. there also were no kindergartens, but plenty of room in the prisons. Most state revenue was made up by high property taxes, exclusive state liquor stores and restaurants.
I also lived in “Taxachusetts” which had both a sales tax and a flat rated (7 percent) income tax. Connecticut finally enacted an income tax long after I moved West — added to its sales tax. The real topper was New York with about the same sales tax as Washington state and an income tax which averaged about 50 percent of your federal tax. My parents raised eight kids in N.Y. on my dad’s paycheck, where he also paid New York city income tax on top of state and federal. We always had enough food on the table.
I assure you that I appreciated my paycheck the most in Washington and New Hampshire.
Toward Fraser’s point: On a trip in 2013, I noticed that the economic recovery was well under way in New York when the recovery in Washington was still couple of years off. New York managed to weather the storm with far less pain all around, including a more rapid return of home values. The tax structure plays a big role in shielding the state governments from the economic pendulum of feast and famine.
I do not know which model best fits our state, but it has always been apparent to me that Tim Eyman wrecked the state government’s ability to manage its business and Paul Allen, Jeff Bezos, etc., have made a clear stand in the growing battle in the Washington and across the U.S. that is annihilating the middle class. Kudos to Mr. Fraser!