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taxes

The nation's roads, bridges, airports, water and transit systems are in pretty bad shape, according to the civil engineers who plan and design such infrastructure.

The new report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the infrastructure of the United States a D-plus.

Some drivers in the Puget Sound region are experiencing sticker shock over their car tab renewals. That’s because of the formula Sound Transit uses to assess vehicle values as it implements a new tax for light rail expansion.

sawant radke burbank vance WIR
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Who should pay for solving Seattle's homelessness emergency? Can a new income tax make Seattle "Trump-proof"? Are taco trucks the answer to our traffic problem? And would you vote for President Oprah?

What a new soda tax could mean for Seattle

Feb 27, 2017
FLICKR PHOTO/Mike Mozart(CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JDwKS6

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about a new proposal to tax soda and other sugary drinks in Seattle.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is considering alternative ways to pay for the border wall, backtracking on the president's oft-repeated promise that Mexico would foot the bill.

A White House spokesman said one idea taking shape is to apply a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico, as well as other countries with which the U.S. has a trade deficit. That would effectively saddle U.S. consumers with a significant portion of the wall's cost, estimated at $15 billion or more.

With so much focus in the early days of the Trump administration centered on GOP plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, it's easy to forget that Republicans are planning another ambitious goal this year — overhauling the entire federal tax code.

A view from inside a Boeing factory
Courtesy of Boeing

Bill Radke talks to Seattle Times' aerospace reporter Dominic Gates about the WTO's ruling on Boeing's tax breaks from Washington state. 

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised the biggest tax cut since Ronald Reagan's conservative revolution swept into Washington in the 1980s.

A big part of that tax cut would go to corporations. The president-elect says that will fuel investment and growth. Skeptics say the plan would explode the federal budget deficit.

Top business tax rate slashed

Donald Trump has proposed a very detailed tax plan — but his statements on the campaign trail don't always match what his proposal would really do.

For instance, at a rally in Scranton, Pa., Trump promised to "massively cut taxes for the middle class, the forgotten people, the forgotten men and women of this country, who built our country." During a town hall meeting on NBC's Today show, he said he believes in raising taxes on the wealthy.

Just like Oregonians have never accepted a general sales tax, voters in neighboring Washington state have proven to be allergic to a state income tax. But at this November's election, a city tax on high incomes is on the ballot in Olympia.

And it could launch a test case if it passes.

Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times columnist Jon Talton about a tax Vancouver, B.C. imposed on foreign real estate buyers and its impact on Seattle's housing market. 

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you may have seen ads urging you to vote "no" on a grocery tax. "Don't Tax Our Groceries" is the tagline of the $9.5 million campaign, which is funded by the American Beverage Association.

In one ad, the camera pans to images of tomatoes and beans, as a local business owner says, "The grocery tax is going to hurt my customers."

But here's the thing. There's no grocery tax on the ballot.

Marijuana retailers began collecting a 25 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales starting in January. That money is adding up quickly.

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday rolled out a new tax break that, if enacted, would put more money into the pockets of working parents with very young children.

The Democratic presidential candidate said she would push for a doubling of the current $1,000 tax credit for children ages 4 and under. An estimated 15 million children would be eligible.

The World Health Organization has already urged us to cut back on sugar, limiting added sugars to no more than 10 percent of our daily calories.

Ben Silesky, 26, and Sydney Allen, 21, go door to door to raise awareness and support for ballot Initiative 732, which would put a tax on carbon emissions in Washington.
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

If you could make energy companies pay $25 for every ton of CO2 they emitted, would you?

What if that tax increased your electric bill and the cost of gasoline by 25 cents per gallon – but the revenue from that tax reduced sales taxes and gave money back to low-income families in the form of a rebate?

Venture Capitalist Nick Hanauer, in his downtown Seattle office.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Millionaire Nick Hanauer is not down with how Donald Trump is skirting his taxes.

Seattle officials are planning to raise the taxes and fees on business owners. This week, a City Council committee approved the changes to the Business and Occupation tax and the business license fee. The mayor proposed the changes in  June.

The money would be used to hire 80 more police officers, out of the 200 Mayor Ed Murray has called for.

The Washington state Capitol in Olympia.
Flickr Photo/amishrobot (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/4PxvK4

A group of citizens in Olympia want the city to be the first in Washington to have an income tax. Their initiative could be on the November ballot.

As the election nears, leaders in Olympia’s city hall are fighting the measure.

A newly released report from the left-leaning Oregon Center for Public Policy has found that Oregon corporations today are paying a smaller portion of the state's income and property taxes than they did 40 years ago.

Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to impose a tax on sugary drinks after its City Council voted on June 16 to approve a 1.5 cents-per-ounce surcharge on soda and other sweetened beverages.

Here is our original post from June 9:

What's included in the proposed new tax?

Sen. Reuven Carlyle was one of the plaintiffs in the case against I-1366, which was sponsored by Tim Eyman.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

The latest tax-limiting initiative approved by Washington voters will not go into effect. Thursday, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Justices said the measure violated the requirement that initiatives be limited to a single subject.

But a poll shows voters still support the crux of the initiative.

Washington state has a fraught relationship with the idea of an income tax. The state currently does not have one.
Drew Christie

Olympia could become the first city in Washington to charge an income tax.


In this Nov. 11, 2013 file photo Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, center, adjusts his glasses as he prepares to sign legislation in Seattle to help keep production of Boeing's new 777X in Washington.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

Boeing’s mega-tax breaks have focused public attention on the state legislature’s decisions to forgo tax revenues.

The legislature offers more than 600 different types of tax breaks to businesses in the state.

Preschool teacher Cindy Bly opens class at Quinsigamond School in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Many of the pupils in the school come from economically stressed families. Achievement here is ranked in the bottom fifth of the state.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

In Washington state, we look at Massachusetts with envy.

Massachusetts has a top-ranked education system, whereas Washington is in the lower middle.

Come July, a wider range of fully electric and extended range plug-in hybrid cars will benefit from a sales tax break in Washington state. Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation Monday to raise the cutoff for a tax incentive.

Keep your kicker or donate it?

Oregon taxpayers have the chance to donate their kicker rebate to fund state schools as they fill out their tax forms this year. But hardly anyone is choosing to do that. So far this tax season, less than one-half of one percent of Oregonians are choosing to donate their kicker.

This year's tax day marks a historic event for one group of Americans: April 18 will be the first time that every married same-sex couple in the country can file both their federal and state taxes together.

It's something Colleen and Linda Squires have been waiting for for a long time.

More Oregon taxpayers than normal are facing a longer wait for their refund this year. But as a later-than-usual April 18 filing deadline approaches, the Oregon Department of Revenue said it's clearing out the backlog.

House Finance Chair Reuven Carlyle, left, and Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter unveiled a two-year budget proposal and tax package designed to satisfy a Supreme Court ruling on K-12 funding, March 27, 2015.
AP Photo/Rachel La Corte

Washington state relies heavily on a sales tax for state revenue. More than 40 states in the union rely on both a sales tax and an income tax. Now there is fresh insight about what that means for Washington state compared to its neighbors.

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