Thursday, August 12, 2004

Electoral Storm - Governor

Yes, I will get the to the Jesus Windshield Ninjas, but first I want to deal with this item from last week:

Story So Far:The Washington race for governor is between King County Executive Ron Sims and State Attorney General Christine Gregoire on the Democrat side, with the winner going against unknown-but-good-looking Republican State Senator Dino Rossi in the general. Gregoire is the "establishment" candidate, supported by the party honchos, while Sims is well-liked generally in King County, a Democratic stronghold in the state.

I've noted that Sims has pushed for a state income tax, which I thought a non-starter in a state where we regularly have tax-revolts against authority. So imagine my surprise when Sims presented a detailed proposal. Imagine - a politician with a plan as opposed to a bunch of standard homilies and platitudes.

Here's the gist of it:
- Elimination of the state's part of the sales tax (effectively eliminating a 6.5% sales tax - we'd still have local sales tax)
- 4% Property tax with a credit for the first 100k of property. This bumps to 5% at 600k
- Kill the Business & Operating Tax (a business tax on receipts, not profits, which the pro-business groups hate)
- Creating a state income tax of 4-10%.
- No corporate income tax
- Institution of the plan by 2008, which would require an ammendment to the state constitution.

This sounds pretty appealing (I'd quibble at the 10% top - when you're at that level, people are actively looking for ways around it - I'd drop it to 8). No Corp income tax is a surprise, but the feeling is that this will encourage re-investment (it stays in the company, it doesn't get taxed) I'm waiting for a knockdown from any side, Rep or Dem, but it hasn't happened yet. In comparison, Gregoire talks about targetted tax breaks and state-sponsored investments to help business, and Rossi rallies around the standard of "Relieving businesses of burdensome regulation" (Code - gutting regulations to protect people).

And Sims is now gaining on Gregoire's numbers. This may be an interesting race after all.

(Now, the reason to mention is that the Reps are playing with the idea of a "National Sales Tax" just at the same time that we are trying to ditch our State Sales Tax. As noted earlier, Sales Taxes are a pretty regressive tax, and the fact that nationally they are thinking about them (or not thinking about them - there seems to be a flip-flip here) is an interesting development).

More later,