Spineless in Washington


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In many states, lawmakers seeking to close fiscal gaps have very limited options. Washington State is not among them. While the state currently faces a $1.6 billion deficit for the upcoming two-year budget cycle, Democratic leaders in the House recently pushed through legislation which uses regressive "sin" taxes to eliminate about a fifth of that shortfall, with the rest being made up through spending cuts.

Washington lawmakers have other options!

Washington is one of 7 states that don't have a broad based income tax. As a result, and as noted in the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy's January 2003 report, Who Pays, Washington has the most regressive tax system in the country. No other state balances its tax system more thoroughly on the backs of its low-income residents-- and no other state gives more of a free ride to its wealthiest citizens.

Instead of pushing for real structural and systematic tax reform, which would make the tax system more fair and more adequate - the state's lawmakers (including the governor) have come out with a budget "solution" that is really no solution at all.

The tax and budget situation in Washington is proof that few legislators there are willing to take a long term approach to balance the budget and instead are looking at ways to band-aid an enormous fiscal problem.

Thank you for visiting Tax Justice Blog. CTJ and ITEP staff will soon retire this domain. But ITEP staff are still blogging! You can find the same level of insight and analysis and select Tax Justice Blog archives at our new blog, http://www.justtaxesblog.org/

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