According to the Office of Financial Management, Washington's resident population increased by more than 14 percent in the last decade, and now is the 13th most populous state. Yet we expect our state, county and city governments to serve more people with less money.
The time has come for a state income tax. The quality of life for all — middle-class, poor and wealthy — will worsen without it.
Reports have shown that the nonprofit sector cannot make up the difference in the services that will be cut. What we don’t pay in taxes, we end up paying in trying to shield ourselves from the effects of a less equitable society by abandoning public institutions for private ones — schools, private security, health care and more.
The more income inequality we tolerate, the more stressful it is for everyone, and the higher our bills become. I would rather pay Washington state’s efficient, effective and ethical government to provide education, public safety, and health care.
If you doubt the efficiency of our state’s government, look at other states and countries to compare. The private sector certainly doesn’t have a better track record than our state government in terms of waste, fraud and self-monitoring.
The people of this state are strong and innovative. We need our future Washington state to be, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in Montgomery in 1965, “a society that can live with its conscience.”