Everett Herald editorial board warms to idea of a state income tax

The Everett Herald adds its editorial voice to calls for rethinking the state tax structure.  The editorial weighs the merits of State Treasurer Jim McIntire’s proposed tax reform and finds much to its liking. (Note: McIntire announced today that he will not be seeking a third term.)

A reduction of the property tax would provide a great benefit to seniors and others on fixed incomes who are less able to absorb increases in their property tax bills.

Lowering the sales tax would benefit everyone, particularly lower-income families most affected by what is considered the most regressive state tax system in the nation.

Creating two basic rates for B&O taxes would simplify the system and take some pressure off small businesses and start-ups.

And a constitutional amendment regarding legislative votes on taxes would deliver the core principle of what Tim Eyman and those who have voted for many of his initiatives have sought for years: a higher hurdle for tax increases.

With those reforms on the plus side, state Treasurer James McIntire is hoping to continue a discussion he launched last spring that would implement a 5 percent flat tax on personal income.

We previously wrote of McIntire’s proposal here. The Spokesman-Review also recently editorialized that the income tax proposal advocated by State Treasurer Jm McIntire is better than the current system.

Proposals for a state income tax are, of course, neither new nor demonstrably popular.

As we noted in our report on Washington’s Initiative 1098 last month, voters in the Evergreen State have voted six times to reject a state income tax. Yesterday, it happened a seventh time as voters opted to keep the state one of seven with no income tax by a margin of 65.6% to 34.4%.

Yet the discussion continues, given additional momentum by the state Supreme Court’s mandate to increase K-12 funding. No one expects structural tax reform in the short election year session, but the issue will likely get more attention in the 2016 campaign season.