Note: This is a response to a commentary that ran in the July 15 issue of our paper, “It’s a crime to be rich,” by Ruth Bayang, which opposed a Seattle City Council 2.25 percent income tax for individuals making over $250,000.
To the Editor:
Because there is no state income tax, here’s the breakdown of how our state’s regressive tax system affects us, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy:
- The poorest people in Washington state — the bottom 20 percent earners — pay 16.8 percent of their income;
- The middle 60 percent pay 10.1 percent of their income; and
- The top 1 percent (11,000 people in a city of about 700,000) of earners pay 2.4 percent of their income.
From the poorest to the richest, poor people pay 686 percent more in shares of taxes as a percentage of their income.
Washington state then relies more heavily on taxes from low- and middle-income earners.
The more incomes stagnate or decline at the bottom — which is what we have now — the slower our state revenue grows.
Like any organization that doesn’t have a sustainable, growing revenue stream, the state has to cut spending.
The areas that suffer from less funding include: housing for low- and middle-income families, public education, workforce development, infrastructure maintenance and expansion, and providing health care.
So our roads are clogged, our schools get less funding, and fewer people can get trained or retrained for new jobs.
In the long run, this will all slow down the state’s development as a whole.
As the most populous city in the state, Seattle is heavily impacted.
With the current tax system, the people being “picked” on the most are not the rich. Our tax system penalizes the poor and working class.
— Nikki Chau, Shoreline