Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Hell Freezes, Liberals Concerned About Higher Taxes

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 12, 2010

I had to read it twice to be sure it was true. It was. Joni Balter, Seattle Times editorial columnist, wrote a column in the February 11, 2010 issue of the Times bemoaning the tax whipsaw citizens are experiencing with the various taxing entities each seeking more money without regard to what others are doing. We must be at the infamous tipping point when even liberals start to worry about taxes. After listing some of the city, county and state planned increases she concludes: “Your wallet and head and mine begin to ache.”

Well welcome to Democrat heaven Joni. Just look at your property tax statement. If you live in Seattle, you pay a state school tax, Seattle schools construction and operating levies, emergency medical tax, surface water tax, soil conservation tax, noxious weed tax, Port of Seattle tax, King County ferry tax, flood control tax, Seattle and King County taxes that pay for the general operating expenses and voter approved taxes (we do it to ourselves) for libraries, parks, low income housing, Seattle’s Family and Education levy (separate from school levies), Stadium tax (which Balter points out officially ends in 2012 but the line is already forming for public groups who want to continue the tax for all manner of “good” causes). Add in sales tax, higher sales tax for restaurant meals, gas tax, liquor tax, tobacco tax, auto tab tax, light rail tax, utility taxes too numerous to list and the bill gets to be fairly high. But that’s not all. Business taxes passed on to customers, fees, and charges and, of course, income taxes, all totaled, explain why tax freedom day, even in a recession, falls in April.

Governments start new programs, lock in more entitlements and spend freely during the boom years and then when the downturns occur threaten to cut police, fire and schools unless the taxpayer ponies up more. Meanwhile long range financial planning to meet future needs such as bridge replacements is ignored.

In Washington State, the Left promotes their version of tax reform. Just add an income tax and we can lower property and sales taxes and provide a more predictable and fair tax system. The only problem is people look at states like California, New York, Illinois etc. and they are broke (spent more, and promised more than they could deliver). Oregon, with no sales tax, is trying the tax the rich approach. We’ll see how that works out.

The Democrats blame Tim Eyman. But Tim and phenomena like the Tea Party Movement is only the natural result of the ever-increasing growth in government and the taxes required to feed it. Obviously, we need government and taxes. The conversation now is how much of each can we afford, what is the fairest way to pay and how can we set limits to control the pressure to spend? Eyman’s initiatives are not the best way to answer the questions but until elected officials get the message, it may be the only way.

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One Response to “Hell Freezes, Liberals Concerned About Higher Taxes”

  1. Fred Churchill said

    Warren, I agree that local and state governments have, generally, acted irresponsibly by spending every penny during boom years (here in Virginia it is on new Prisons and huge new gov’t office buildings) and expecting to make it up by both raising taxes and cutting spending on education, Medicare and mental health services. Those last three areas get whacked because there are no cash-rich Lobbyists to fight for them as there are in industry, finance, unions, insurance, etc. But this has been going on as long as I can remember, the difference this time is that it may take 5+ years (or 10 according to some) for us to see 5% unemployment and decent GDP growth.

    As long as our elected representatives are hog-tied by the Lobbyists who fund their campaigns, we cannot expect improvements. The recent Supreme Court decision on corporate campaign finance makes it much worse. Our senators and congressmen will continue to be the hand-puppets of the big business and big union oligarchy. We’re screwed.

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