The issue of economic disparity has become a significant topic in our national conversation and is certainly playing a role in our election cycle. On February 25th, at Traditions, our League will welcome Wolfgang Opitz, Assistant State Treasurer, to discuss the issue of tax fairness, which is a critical component of this discussion.
Washington State is well known for having one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation. Without an income tax we depend on sales tax, property tax, business and occupation tax, and now, even some tolls. Our sales tax is one of the highest in the nation. In fact, some analysts rate our state at #50 for tax fairness. One study showed that the poorest 20% pay close to 17% of their income in state and local taxes whereas the 1% paid 2.8% of their income. On a percentage basis, those with less income pay a much higher percentage in various state taxes than those with higher incomes.
In addition, the state must determine how to properly fund education without creating an even larger dependency on revenue that perpetuates the tax disparity that currently exists.
Many of us realize that reducing the dependency on sales tax and moving to an income tax would be the fairest structure for all, but that option has never succeeded in the legislature or as an initiative.
So join to us in February to review and discuss tax fairness in the State of Washington and the possibilities to resolve this on-going issue.