Washington ranks 35th in total state and local taxes paid by its citizens. However, it also ranks as number one as the state with the most unfair system of taxation.
In Washington state, the less you earn, the higher percentage of taxes you pay. For example, those who earn less than $26,000 per year pay up to 23 percent of their income in state and local taxes; while those with incomes over $95,000 pay 6 percent (Office of Financial Management).
At the same time, essential services such as transportation and schools remain underfunded because the revenue raised by our system is totally inadequate. The current tax structure is broken. We need more revenue and a fairer system.
Such a system can be created with the change to a graduated income tax on those earning above median income levels. This would allow a proportional reduction in the regressive sales and property taxes and the closure of egregious loopholes.
More revenue and a fairer system of taxation can happen but it will take courage on the part of our Legislature and governor.