taxes | KUOW News and Information

taxes

These boots make a point:  sales tax was $15.36, meaning a person paid Seattle's minimum wage works an hour just to pay state and local taxes. A higher-paid worker pays proportionally less.
KUOW Feet & Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Seattle’s surging economy continues to cause concerns about affordability.

Monday afternoon, the Seattle Transit riders union held a rally to bring attention to the need for a more equitable standard of living in the city.

But some of the reasons why people struggle in Seattle are deeply ingrained.

Illustration by Drew Christie

What is the history of Washington state's political allergy to an income tax? Steven Thomson of Olympia posed this question to KUOW's Local Wonder.

We had an income tax once in Washington state.

It was during the Great Depression, and a lot of people were down and out.

People were so excited about the income tax that they voted twice. First, they changed the state constitution to allow the tax. Then voters approved the tax – 70 percent in favor.

Wealthy donors helped get Initiative 1366 on the ballot. Now Washington voters will decide whether to approve Tim Eyman’s latest effort to require a two-thirds vote of the legislature or a vote of the people for tax hikes.

City of Seattle pothole rangers at work in 2011.
Seattle Department of Transportation

The cure for some of Seattle’s transportation pains may be tough to swallow: a nearly $800 increase in annual taxes, fees and user charges for the city’s typical household.

That number comes from former state transportation chief Doug MacDonald, who calculated the cost of changes in state tax structure, car-tab charges and proposed levies.

Washington anti-tax activist Tim Eyman could face civil or even criminal sanctions for alleged campaign finance violations.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown is calling for a top-to-bottom review of a long-troubled tax incentive. The Business Energy Tax Credit was supposed to give companies an incentive to invest in clean energy.

Oregon taxpayers will get a boost on next year’s tax returns from the state’s first kicker rebate since 2007. So what does $402 million look like when you send it back to nearly 2 million taxpayers?

Lawsuit Challenges Eyman Anti-Tax Measure

Jul 31, 2015

Opponents of an anti-tax initiative in Washington state are filing a lawsuit to prevent the measure from appearing on the November ballot.

Billionaire Paul Allen wants wildlife traffickers to feel a bit more pain. Professional initiative sponsor Tim Eyman wants state lawmakers to feel a bit of pain too.

Oregon shoppers and bottled water will remain untaxed in Washington’s next two-year budget, but a couple of other tax exemptions will be eliminated.

Washington’s gas tax would go up nearly 12 cents per gallon to fund road projects under a deal struck between Democrats and Republicans.

To raise or not to raise taxes? That is the question that’s pushing Washington lawmakers into a second 30-day special session.

Democratic Representative Tobias Read introduced a bill Thursday that would divert a potential kicker tax rebate.

One day after the state got a favorable revenue forecast, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said he no longer believes the $1.4 billion tax package he proposed in December is necessary.

William Shatner.
Flickr Photo/Brian Wilkins (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Why is William Shatner coming for our water? Does Seattle need rent control? Can a new policing plan tackle drug dealing downtown? Is tipping on the way out?

David Hyde sits in for Bill Radke to review the week’s news along with Crosscut’s Knute Berger, 'The C is For Crank' blogger Erica C. Barnett and former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna.

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.

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