The Olympian recently reported ("Transparency in Taxes" 1/23/11) that the state Labor Council is interested in shining a little light on the state budget. In particular, they are calling for tax exemptions to be clearly set out in the budget as a line item.
The Freedom Foundation is strongly in favor of any measure introducing daylight into the often confusing and convoluted budget and tax systems of Washington state. Given the state Labor Council’s new-found interest in tax transparency, they should encourage the state to create a searchable tax site exposing the entire tax burden shouldered by Washingtonians, not merely the exemptions.
Such a database should minimally include a geographical tax map, a searchable tax-rate database and an individual rate calculator, as well as the tax exemptions the Labor Council is so keen on making transparent.
The Freedom Foundation believes in total tax transparency and has created its own searchable tax site, TaxSleuth.com. Nevertheless, the state, in its commitment to transparency and accountability, should be out front on this issue exposing the unexposed, shining light on state government.