October 5, 2010
Ballot measures target new, revised taxes
The November general election includes three tax initiatives that would purportedly raise or lower taxes in the future. It’s a convoluted array of ballot issues that says much about the unrest of these economic times.
• Vote no on Initiative 1107. The initiative asks voters to undo the sales tax increase on candy, gum, bottled water and carbonated beverages that legislators passed earlier this year and goes into effect in December. The tax is expected to raise $352 million for the state general fund. That isn’t enough to close the budget gap, but without it, education, social and health services will suffer more. The tax increase is not onerous enough to threaten anyone’s household budget. While legislators need to tweak some aspects of the new law, voters should not reverse it.
• Vote no on Proposition 1. King County is seeking voter approval of another 0.2 percent increase to the sales tax, with funds to go directly for the support of public safety and the courts, and construction of a new Youth Services Center. The county executive has proposed a county budget that reduces the sheriff’s department, taking officers off the street, and reduced funds for the court system. We’ve seen this kind of electoral blackmail before, preying on the fear of the people. Voters need to give Proposition 1 a resounding defeat, then step up and tell the County Council what other programs can be cut if police on the streets are a priority. We the people need to help the county get its priorities straight without giving in.
• Vote no on Initiative 1098. The initiative would establish a state income tax on families earning $400,000 annually while reducing state property tax levies and some B&O taxes. While we are not necessarily opposed to considering a state income tax in exchange for reductions of other taxes, I-1098 is the wrong way to go about it. Sadly, we just don’t trust that our legislators won’t lower the threshold for the income tax, letting that $400,000 ceiling creep down to the middle class it is intended to relieve.