Published in Tacoma’s The News Tribune December 7, 2019
And not just because public oversight of government depends on it. If you care about redressing our nation’s racially biased past, it is necessary to recognize how tax policy furthers our regrettable history of disparate treatment for different races.
The inequalities in our state’s tax code are well known, and have gained us the ignoble designation of “the most unfair state and local tax system in the country.”
This medal of dishonor from the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy is based on ITEP’s assessment of how fairly the tax burden is spread among residents in the 50 states. Washington ranks dead last.
The problem is that our state and local governments rely heavily on sales and excise taxes, which fall disproportionately on the poor. Meanwhile, Washington lacks the income or wealth taxes to rebalance the burden towards those with the means to carry it. Continue reading