By Ruth Bayang
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The trend of vilifying the rich has now secured a foothold in Seattle.
On July 10, the Seattle City Council imposed a 2.25 percent tax on any individuals making over $250,000 per year, and married couples filing joint returns with more than $500,000 in annual income.
It’s a move designed to raise revenue and “make the wealthy pay their fair share.”
The last time I checked, “the rich” are the people that create jobs. I’ve never been hired by a broke person.
And here’s a news flash for the middle class. Whenever politicians talk about taxing the rich, hold onto your wallets, because you’re next!
A state law was passed in 1984 that prohibits a county, city, or city-county from levying a tax on net income.
That means a state income tax is a violation of the state constitution. Voters in the state have rejected personal income tax-related measures at the statewide ballot several times over the past eight decades.
The Seattle tax is an intentional legal battle to get the courts to change the constitution, and get around the will of the people. And you better believe that a state income tax won’t target only the rich.
I’m not a tax expert, nor am I a policymaker. Here’s what I understand about taxes.
The rich pay less in income taxes than the middle class because they earn their money differently. They know that the best way to save on taxes is by generating passive income. Passive income is taxed less and is the result of cash-flowing assets, like rental income from real estate, not from getting paid as an employee at a job.
The rich also get scores of tax breaks offered to them by the government to encourage investing and business development, which generates more jobs.
Substitute the word “rich” for any other word — let’s say “Asians.”
“Tax the Asians” — that would be racist, wouldn’t gain any traction, and certainly would not pass.
“Tax the disabled” — nope.
“Tax the… ” — you get my drift.
The only socially acceptable group of people it’s okay to pick on is “the rich.”
The way I see it, money and taxes are a game. A game with rules. Follow the rules and you can play to win.
Ruth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nikki Chau says
Because there is no state income tax, here’s the breakdown of how our regressive tax system affects us:
– The poorest people in Washington state — the bottom 20% earners — pay 17% of their income.
– The middle 60% pay 10%.
– The top 1% of earners pay 2.4%.
From the poorest to the richest, poor people pay 686% 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 healthcare.
So our roads are clogged, our schools get less funding, fewer people can get trained or retrained to get new jobs, etc.
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.