Letter: Tax policies should be fair



The March 25 story, “Study: State’s tax burden on low side,” would have been more comprehensive if it had included a breakdown of our state’s tax structure by household income. In doing so, readers would have found that: Washington’s richest 1 percent (average income of $1,750,000) pay only 2.6 percent in combined state taxes, while nationally the richest 1 percent pay 4.5 percent; the national middle quintile pays 9.5 percent while Washingtonians pay more — 10.6 percent. As for the nation’s poorest quintile, it pays out 10.9 percent, while Washington’s poorest fifth, with an average income of $11,000, pays 17.3 percent!

These statistics from The Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan study group, cover all 50 states and are easy to understand. I urge all citizens who are concerned over our state’s tax structure to visit the institute’s website and click on the report, “Who pays.”

Check out the states that rely equally on sales, property, and income taxes. They tax their citizens fairly and are better positioned to handle problems resulting from the recession. Combining all three taxes is good economics — it is not harsh on the wealthy, it is fair to the middle class, and it is kind to the poor.

Mark Jander