Now that it is impossible for our Legislature to increase government revenue by raising taxes, I ask that our legislators put tax increases to a direct vote of the people. If 51 percent of us vote to raise taxes, it can happen - unlike in the Legislature where a 67 percent majority is now needed.
From a recent Olympian, I learn that banks are exempt from taxes on interest income they receive from mortgages. I also learn that our state is considering cutting basic health services to 50,000 people who can’t afford health care on their own.
Eliminating the exemption on bank earnings after the first $100 million – that is, having them continue to earn $100 million tax free but applying a tax to the excess over that – would raise revenue to help pay for the Basic Health Plan. Therefore, I ask that a proposition be presented to the people that reads like: “Shall banks be taxed on mortgage interest earnings over the first $100 million and the Basic Health Plan supported by the new tax revenue, or shall the banks’ tax exemptions be continued and Basic Health care eliminated?”
A Republican legislator recently objected to a similar proposal by Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, essentially saying we need to eliminate programs like Basic Health quickly before somebody finds a way to raise revenue and save them. Direct public votes on taxes are now the only remaining option for keeping our society humane and compassionate.