taxes | KUOW News and Information

taxes

Marcie Sillman talks to State Treasurer Jim McIntire about his proposal for a state income tax and overhaul of our current tax system to raise enough revenue to cover the state budget. 

Replacement parts for King County's emergency radio system won't be available after 2018, County Council member Joe McDermott says.
Flickr Photo/Bryan Jones (CC-BY-NC-ND)

King County's aging emergency radio system is facing crunch time: After 2018, replacement components won't be available.

So the county is proposing a replacement and asking voters to pay for it in a special election April 28. Boosting the existing property-tax levy would generate an estimated $273 million to pay for the upgrade, the county says.

Firefighters, police or paramedics responding to a crisis depend on reliable radios. Seattle’s new fire chief, Harold Scoggins, pointed to the communication problems that hampered first responders’ efforts during the 9-11 attacks.

The push to raise the gas tax by nearly 12 cents per gallon gas is still alive in the Washington legislature. But time is running out.

In Washington state, the tax rate for those living in poverty is seven times higher than for those in the one percent.
Courtesy of Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

Marcie Sillman speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about why Washington state's tax system has been called "the most unfair state and local tax system in the country."  

More taxpayers are falling victim to identity theft. A federal report says 2.5 million tax-filers had their identities stolen and their tax refunds delayed in 2013.

That’s double the number of people affected the previous year.

Majority Republicans in the Washington state Senate unveiled a no-new-taxes budget Tuesday that would still boost spending by $4 billion.

This tax season, for the first time since the Affordable Care Act passed five years ago, consumers are facing its financial consequences.

Whether they owe a penalty for not having health insurance, or have to figure out whether they need to pay back part of the subsidy they received to offset the cost of monthly insurance premiums, many people have to contend with new tax forms and calculations.

A Better Way To Tax Cigarettes

Mar 18, 2015
Flickr Photo/David Grant

Bill Radke talks with Washington state Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, about Governor Jay Inslee's proposal to raise cigarette taxes.

Susan Dean, 78, says doing her taxes by hand would be impossible without the IRS instruction booklet, which the IRS no longer widely distributes.
KUOW photo/Sara Lerner

Alert, tax prep procrastinators: You might want to force yourself to start earlier this year.

When the federal agency in charge of tax collection gets hit with budget cuts, there are problems – and reduced IRS services are creating real roadblocks.

In January, the Washington state Senate adopted a rule requiring that new taxes pass the Senate by a two-thirds vote. Monday Lt. Governor Brad Owen tossed it out.

Owen said the super majority threshold runs afoul of the state constitution. Owen pointed to a 2013 Washington Supreme Court ruling that overturned a voter-approved super majority requirement for tax hikes.

The Republican-led Washington Senate Monday approved a nearly 12-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase phased in over three years.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a possible hike in the gas tax this session. Supporters say it's needed in order to offset stagnant revenues due to more fuel efficient vehicles.

In Olympia, legislative budget writers got a shot of good news Friday regarding tax collections.

A bipartisan group of Washington state senators is backing an 11.7 cent gas tax increase over three years.

When voters in four U.S. states — Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon — approved recreational marijuana sales, part of the appeal was the promise of a new revenue source to buoy cash-strapped cities and states.

But tensions are growing in those four states over how the tax rewards from pot sales should be divided. Local governments want to get what they say is their share of pot tax revenue.

The taxman cometh, and tax preparers are anxiously getting ready to deal with new rules that have kicked in because of the Affordable Care Act.

Under the Affordable Care Act, there are new forms, along with new questions for people who have – and don’t have – health insurance.

Have electric cars been on the market long enough to stand on their own without public subsidies?

Gas prices have plummeted, but Washington’s gas tax could soon go up.

What Happened This Week? Thanks For Asking

Jan 16, 2015
Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch watches the closing moments of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 21, 2014.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

An engineer said “catastrophic failure” in the same breath as “Bertha” – what does that mean? Washington state has America's most regressive tax system, is that about to change? Should Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch have to talk to the media if he doesn’t want to? And if you weren’t born in the Pacific Northwest, can you ever truly fit in?

Ross Reynolds talks with Meg Wiehie, state policy director for the Institute on Taxation and Economic policy, about their yearly ranking of regressive tax systems. Reynolds also speaks with Paul Guppy, vice president of research for the Washington Policy Center, who gives another take on the ranking.

Marcie Sillman talks to Hugh Spitzer, University of Washington law professor, about the constitutionality of the Senate Republicans' rule change for bringing new taxes to a vote on the full Senate floor.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants a new capital gains tax to help fund schools and other priorities. But Republicans in the state Senate voted Monday to make it harder to get a tax proposal like that through the legislature.

Is Inslee's Carbon Tax Dead On Arrival?

Jan 12, 2015
Governor Jay Inslee.
Flickr Photo/GovInslee (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with KUOW's Olympia corespondent Austin Jenkins about the politics around the carbon tax and other issues facing the state legislature this session. 

School funding, a roads-and-transit package and medical marijuana are among the hot topics as the Washington legislature convenes Monday.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is defending his call for higher taxes in 2015. The Democrat reacted Thursday to criticism from Republican lawmakers.

Washington voters would prefer no new taxes and no deep cuts to state services. But if that’s not possible, they’re open to some new taxes.

Some cities and counties around the Northwest are tightening up local rules on businesses that sell e-cigarettes. And shop owners in Washington state are bracing for a tax fight at the legislature in 2015.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said Thursday, "it is time to reinvest in Washington." He proposed that the state adopt a new capital-gains tax to help fund a $39 billion two-year budget that would prioritize education, union-negotiated pay raises for state employees, and avoid what the Democratic governor calls “devastating” cuts to corrections, higher education and social services.

To raise taxes, or not raises taxes? That is the question. Washington Democrats have been hinting at yes. Republicans like Senate budget chair Andy Hill say it’s a last resort.

The Internal Revenue Service has warned of tax season chaos if Congress fails to pass a series of breaks by the end of November. The so-called tax extenders include everything from deductions for school teachers who buy classroom supplies to faster depreciation for business equipmentent.

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