Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gregoire Didn't Create the Deficit

And Dino Rossi, isn't going to fix it.

There's a 800 lbs gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about when it comes to taxes and revenues. Actually, there are 5 gorillas: the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, the now-gone Seattle Supersonics, and then the Washington Husky and Washington State Cougar football teams. OK, maybe not so much the Cougars, since they suck annually.

Five losing teams = five lost/crippled sources of revenue. When your state relies heavily on slaes taxes, when your team doesn't sell, your state doesn't earn. Not at the box office, the hotels, restaurants, souvenir stores, bars, you name it. This is the at the heart of my arguement against a sales tax: It's just too fucking iffy. It's as fair weather of a tax, as the teams' fans are fair weather fans. It's also regressive. It hits the poor harder as a percentage of their income. (for those who don't know what regressive means)

This state needs an income tax. Always has.

Another tax that makes no sense is the Business and Occupations tax which is based on gross receipts, not profits. I imagine the arguement goes that such a tax on profit, would be avoided by businesses hiding their profits. As if businesses don't do their best to hide receipts. This tax is especially hard on self employed and small businesses.

The state also takes property taxes. Has one of the highest gas taxes in the country. Has one of the highest tobacco taxes in the country. Has a monopoly on liquor sales and a high liquor tax. Has no corporate income tax.

In short, people take it in the shorts when it comes to taxes in this state. Especially poor people. I don't know if there's a more regressive ie redneck tax system in the country. All of this makes it that much more important that sports teams do well. Fans spend money. Happy, rabid fans spend more money.

I'll bet something else is declining: DUIs and revenues from fines. Especially from post game offenses.

Slash the sales tax in half and replace it with a graduated income tax -- which would be deductable from federal income tax, without special efforts in congress, and without having to itemize -- at 1-2% of the pre-Reagan federal rates. That's a good place to start with a much needed overhaul. I would say to spread the burden around, but that might sound socialist, eh?

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