Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for Sept. 1

How to submit a Letter to the Editor

The Olympian editor Dusti Demarest explains the guidelines for submitting a Letter to the Editor to the newspaper.
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The Olympian editor Dusti Demarest explains the guidelines for submitting a Letter to the Editor to the newspaper.

Let’s talk taxes

The mere mention of “income tax” strikes fear in the heart, has unseated long-serving legislators, and causes candidates to lose elections.

But our state has the most regressive tax structure where the poor pay the most while the rich pay the least of their income towards taxes. One fix might be a revenue-neutral state income tax that would simultaneously remove sales taxes.

An online economic model from the Department of Revenue can help evaluate different tax scenarios. Eliminating state and local sales taxes and replacing them with a graduated income tax (No tax for those making less than $20,000 to 9 percent for those making more than $175,000 per year) would result in a much fairer tax structure.

The state should also eliminate their share of local property taxes (i.e. $2.29 per $1,000 valuation), add a local business service fee and an earned income tax credit. The predicted taxes would decrease for all incomes below $130,000 per year and also for businesses. For a household income of $55,000, taxes would decrease from 9.5% of income to 7%.

The wealthy would see their state taxes increase from 5.9% to 11.1% but it could be deducted from their federal income tax.

Business taxes would reduce from 47% to 39%.

This revenue-neutral income tax would require a change to our state constitution, but would diversify our income streams, be fairer to low- and middle-income folks, and we’d not be so vulnerable to economic downturns.

Let’s put fear mongering and partisan politics aside to fix our upside-down tax structure. What’s your plan?

Dave Daggett, Shelton

Vote Phyllis Booth for a more democratic, accountable Olympia City Council

Phyllis Booth, who is running for Olympia City Council, is a model of selfless, long-enduring civic engagement. My observation of Phyllis is that she is not one to seek the spotlight, but will step up to fill a need when it presents itself.

Right now, we need someone on the council for whom “giving citizens a voice” is not just rhetoric. I trust Phyllis to treat every city resident as a stakeholder in decisions that affect us.

For example, the Missing Middle (MM), a major housing ordinance passed by the council in November, was recently invalidated by the Growth Management Hearings Board, thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Phyllis Booth. The MM failed to account for burdens on infrastructure and would have done nothing to increase availability of affordable housing. It was more likely to have a gentrifying effect.

For these reasons and more, Phyllis campaigned against MM and says we need to “start over with the Missing Middle as it violates the democratically developed comprehensive plan.”

I also trust Phyllis when she says she will raise alarms the next time (and every time) the council considers signing off on massive free tax exemptions to big developers of market-rate and luxury housing.

We need a more democratic, accountable Olympia City Council. Which is why we need Phyllis Booth.

Sandy Mayes, Olympia