In the Merchant of Venice, the moneylender Shylock seeks to extract a pound of flesh from defaulted debtor Antonio but is stopped when a disguised Portia notes that the contract specifies not a jot of blood. It seems these days that Governor Greogire and Washington legislators are intent on extracting a pound of flesh from the most vulnerable Washingtonians.
Gregoire and the Legislature seem eager to interpret the voters will (as if there was just one of us with a single point of view) as wanting a cuts only budget. The effect of the result of the 2010 election was not that we were against tax increases but that any tax increases need to be packaged as an initiative to the voters.
So, theoretically, the state could roll back billions in tax exemptions on business in an initiative to the voters. But would that be fair? What share of Washington State's $14 billion in tax revenue do businesses pay today?
I asked Mike Gowrylow at the Department of Revenue and the reports he sent me indicate that businesses paid about 45.87%. Individual citizens (households) pay 50.56% and the government actually pays 3.57%.
So, while corporations like Microsoft have record profit and nearly $40 billion on hand while dodging approximately $1.25 billion in taxes from Nevada, do you think Washington State businesses should being contributing a larger share towards our revenue picture? More to the point, would you vote for an initiative package that closed legal and illegal tax exemptions on Washington State companies? Or, would you prefer we decimate our social services and leave more people on the street at risk? Just asking.
Seems to me that in a state with no income tax, corporate taxes should be well over 55%. In fact, increasing corporate tax collection to a 55% share of state revenues would close about half our current budget deficit.