Washington State Treasurer's Big Plan to Fund Education

I have to give credit to State Treasurer Jim McIntire.  He went all in on a new plan that wouldn't just fund public education but entirely revamp how our state collects taxes.  (His plan apparently would fund what State Superintendent Randy Dorn suggested for public ed spending.)

He would:
  • create a 5% personal income tax
  • get rid of the state property tax
  • lower the state sales tax (from 5.5 to 6.5%)
  • and reduce some business taxes
He says at the end of all that- with more state revenue but lower local levies - the State would be up by $4B.  He'd like to see this on the ballot in 2016.  (But it would also take a vote of the Legislature as well.)

I am not in a position to analyze (I'm not sure I even have that skill set) but I'm with him - a conversation needs to be started.

And, as usual, you have legislators like ed reform's Rep. Chad Magendanz (R-Issaquah) who says nah, we just need to shuffle around the deck chairs.  He is right that this can't be done in conjunction with meeting the mandates of McCleary on the Supreme Court's timeline. 


Anonymous said…
lower the state sales tax from 6.5 to 5.5
Anonymous said…
I agree with lowering the sales tax, and adding an income tax - much as I dislike the idea of paying more taxes, I think it is needed to be able to fund things. But I think it ought to be graduated, or a certain amount of income exempt, or it is going to be an hardship for low income families. I suspect a family earning $40,000 per year will be more affected by paying an additional $2000 in taxes than a family earning $100,000 would be by paying an extra $5000. 5% is pretty noticeable when it is withheld from one's paycheck - might have better luck pushing for a lower amount.

Mom of 4
Anonymous said…
State income taxes generally allow itemized or standard deductions in the same way the federal income tax does. A state income tax would most likely be structured in such a way that a family earning $20,000 would not owe any tax.

I estimate that this plan would increase my family's tax burden between $4,000 and $5,000. I'd be thrilled to pay that if in return we received free full day K, smaller class sizes and more counselors, nurses and librarians.

Willing taxpayer
Anonymous said…
Yuk Yuk, just an extra $5k no big deal...please lay off the LSD. An income tax is dead in the water NEVER going to happen NEVER, because we know the other taxes will not go away and we will end-up with SALES, INCOME, GAS, PROPERTY, and many other taxes that mostly go to fund PUBLIC EMPLOYEES PENSION and HEATH BENEFITS.

Funny how the majority of privet sector workers do not have these benefits yet they pay for others to have them.

And since you don't mind paying more go ahead and pick up my bill while your at it.

gray poupon
Anonymous said…
I think it is a good idea, but I have a hard time forgetting how much Jim McIntire pushed Seattle to close schools when he was in the legislature. Did he mention any remedies for that fiasco?

-old school
Anonymous said…
Wow, are you serious? A family only making $20k-$40k can not afford to live in Seattle. That's the reality and people need to deal with it. There are many places east of the mountains or around the coast where they might be able to make it on $20K, but NOT here. I'm not obligated to subsidize a Seattle lifestyle or a San Francisco or any other overly expensive city lifestyle.

I refuse to believe I will be paying for others children to attend FT daycare, when I had to have a second job to pay for preschool when my children attended. Do lawmakers think people can just reach under their mattress and pull out $5K.

I smell a revolt coming if these misguided PC politicians are allowed to continue to steal money from the middle class.

Anonymous said…
Willing to go this route for the benefits to the education. This state needs to wake up and smell the coffee that our beloved Starbucks is brewing.

Whatever happened to an income tax on the wealthiest, the top 3-5%?

I do worry about the working poor and the affect an income tax would have on them.

But, I am willing...

Anonymous said…
I am all for a fair income tax. It is the most fair tax of all--on the income versus purchasing power. Also,tThe official who proposed this was just on the radio and stated that a family of four with a $50,000 or lower annual income would be exempt from this tax.

That said, a flat tax (like this one) is regressive and ultimately hurtful to low income folks.

North End Parent
Anonymous said…
I am unwilling to curb Seattle's ability to pass education levies when the full Eastern half of the state regularly refuses to fully fund education at all. Send our Seattle education tax dollars to Olympia to have them redistribute them "efficiently" to the full state? Sounds like an unwinning formula.

I am willing to have my taxes raised, though, to guarantee a steady source of education income for all. Just not along with curbs on our city fundraising.

Patrick said…
Of the plans presented, this seems the best. At least the money generated would be enough to do something.

I'd rather see 0% sales tax and entirely replaced by progressive income tax, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards.
Anonymous said…
WA state better be careful or we will see a mass migration to Oregon State. Oregon has vast tacks of vacant land on both sides of I5, if you start taxing the income of all these High Tech employees they will quickly pull up and move to where it's less expensive to live which will be south of Portland. One of the first things our new CAL hires always comment on is how glad they are to not have to pay CAL state income tax. If you itemize you do get to offset state taxes from Federal, but it's just an adjustment to your gross and not a tax credit. Most people don't itemize and will be stuck paying 100% of both.

Still I doubt anyone in Olympia will drink the political cyanide and put this to a citizens vote. This is all a bunch of huffing and puffing to deflect the damage from all the tax breaks given to special interest.

Re-elect theblowhards
Anonymous said…
You are aware that Oregon has a state income tax - aren't you? The top individual tax rate is 9.9%

Willing taxpayer
Anonymous said…
Yes, I know Oregon has a State income tax and that's what stops many companies from moving there. Now when you level the playing field there will be many positives for companies in Oregon. Oregon is basically unpopulated compared to Puget Sound, but still beautiful.

Many places are like the East side was when I was a kid.

Re-elect theblowhards
No new taxes ever said…
Our legislators and bureaucrats have wasted vast sums of money and they will continue to waste them. No new taxes. No new testing mandates. No tunnels that we didn't want.

More taxes will mean higher pay and better benefits for the John Stanford center crowd.

Anonymous said…
Ugh. Hate paying taxes, but I vote for them. Some of them. However, this plan needs a lot of scrutiny, particularly if you live in Puget Sound area.

Property tax includes all those from LOCAL levies/referendums as well. We can reduce the state portion of the property tax, but there are plenty more local property tax Seattle citizens are paying. Be smart and ask lots of questions.

For example, the latest ballot asking for an increase in property tax over 9 years to revamp emergency radio system for King County. Why is this essential service NOT part of the general budget? Why are state and local governments putting more and more essential services budget up for referendum vote Where are the general budget dollars going? Are money from local levies wisely used? Take the Family & Ed Levy and the push for a short term pre K experimentation? The push by our city officials to get our underfunded, out of space K-12 SPS to absorb their political project? Priority.

Why aren't big developers paying impact fees in Seattle?

Sure exempt < $50,000 families from income tax. In Seattle, we are already quite generous with subsidies for transportation to health carefor this group. FRL for families of 4 qualify if they make less than $44,000. Affordable housing is another matter as this city is ridding itself of that as in tearing down Yesler Terrace apts and replacing them with vague in the future unknowns (for shame!). What this means is it's the middle class who will get little relief. What poor citizens left in Seattle will be fewer, but taken care of (assuage the "progressive conscience"). Seattle sales tax is the highest. Will we see relief? No more funding by car tab tax?

I can go on. But people need to call out for verifiable and transparent accountability first before buying this. Remember all those BEXs, the ever growing number of well paid administrative positions popping up in SPS, preK, city hall, SDOT, WDPT, Sound Transit, UW. Think about the battle going now between poorly paid teaching assistants and UW (weigh this with Sally Clark's $150,000 cushy UW position).

Sad said…
If McLeary is funded, I'm not confident we will see dollars in our classrooms. There are just TOO many bureaucratic projects at state and district levels, and highly paid bureaucrats.

We live in a capitalistic society and we can not ignore this reality.
Levy Funds said…
Voter forgot to mention that Murray et.al created a new taxing authority for parks. The city will have the capacity to raise taxes for parks up to $0.75 per $1000 of assessed property value.

The city will be asking for funds to support police and fire. They will save this levy for last. First, they got parks, prek and transportation. Who is going to pay for BERTHA?
Anonymous said…
Additionally, > 51% of King county property tax goes to school (state portion + local school district levies/bonds) already. State portion of property tax is only 15-16%. Locally we tax ourselves a great deal for our local schools. And as other posters have noted with levy equalization, King Co. state portion of property tax goes to help out other poorer districts. We may reduce our KC property tax by about 15% and tax our income by 5%. We will still have a huge property tax bill because of our many levies for many, many years to come. We will have the newly formed Seatte Park District to impose new property taxes. Our property tax won't go away because of the new state income tax. I doubt it will get smaller either. It will grow because...

the mayor just proposed a huge property tax levy for $900 million over 9 years for transportation. (More money for transit, street cars, bike lanes, but NOT to replace old, unsafe bridges which carry people. Just more millions to study how to replace our bridges. Sigh.)

Voter, one thing about being married is how people divvy up responsibilities. So my husband did most of the bills and I really did not know the extent of the property tax as it gets laid out on the bill.

It's a lot. The next time someone says, "oh, it's just XX dollars a year," I'm going to consider that it adds on or expands that tax.

And I am nowhere as burdened as other people in this city.

I do believe in libraries and schools and emergency services but yes, I think there's a tipping point.

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