Tax Reform Brochure, July 2002

BY:Washington District| July 25, 2002

Eliminate the
Sales Tax
Tax the Rich

Working people, small farmers, and small businesspeople in Washington State pay too much in taxes.

Thats because big businesses and the wealthy dont pay their fair share.

To solve the current state budget crisis, to adequately support the needs of the people of our state for education, health care, transportation, and other social programs, we have to tax the rich!

Since the late 1940s, the percentage of taxes paid by workers in the US has steadily increased. During the same period, the percentage of taxes paid by corporations and the wealthy has steadily decreased.

The cumulative effect has been to create a tax system that unfairly burdens workers and others with low and moderate incomes, without raising enough to fund the programs we need, especially in times of economic crisis.

Washington States tax system ranks as the most regressive, with an increasing reliance on raising sales taxes and property taxes, coupled with increasing tax exemptions, cuts, and subsidies for big businesses and the wealthy. In our state, only people in the top 20% income bracket pay less than the national average in taxes, while the rest of us pick up the bill for them.

As a result of the decades-long efforts of the rich to avoid paying their fair share for social programs, and to place the entire burden of taxes on the shoulders of low and middle-income people, workers have developed a deep cynicism about the tax system. We know that we bear a disproportionate share of the costs of governmentthat working families are over-taxed.

Approximately 7% of the workforce in our state is unemployed, 15% are involuntarily working a part-time or temporary jobs, and 15% of full-time workers earn poverty-level wages. That means that 37% of the workforce, plus their families, face economic catastrophe on a daily basis. Every dollar we pay in taxes is a dollar not spent on housing, food, health care, and children.

At the same time as crying needs are going unmet, we the people pay the enormous costs of a prison system filled with growing numbers of people who have committed minor non-violent crimes, at a cost to taxpayers in the billions. Shifting a portion of the money spent on prisons to social programs would decrease the crime rate. Having a state Public Works Jobs Program would decrease the crime rate. Funding primary, secondary, and higher education puts people to work earning living wages building and staffing our schools.

Our tax problems are only impossible to solve if we continue to let the rich get away with robbery.

Simply ending the tax exemptions to corporations like
Boeing, Microsoft, and Weyerhauser would solve our current budget crisis!

When all state and local taxes, excise and property taxes are tallied, poor families in our state pay over 17% of their total income in taxes, while the richest 1% pay less than 4% of their total income in taxes.

The only economically viable approach is to tax those who have the moneythe wealthy and the big corporations.

We need a tax system that works for the people of our state, not one designed to give tax breaks to the wealthy

Fair Taxes for the People of the State of Washington

To fix the Washington State tax system, we propose to:

1. Eliminate the sales tax on everything except luxury goods
2. Eliminate all special tax exemptions for businesses (now totaling over 3 billion dollars per year!)
3. Eliminate property taxes on homeowners and renters of property valued under 1 million dollars
4. Eliminate the B & O Tax and reduce other taxes on small businesses and family farmers
5. Institute a progressive corporate income tax, with larger corporations paying more
6. Institute an individual income tax, with incomes under $50,000 exempt
This plancut and eliminate taxes on workers and the poor, close tax loopholes, tax the corporations and the wealthy, and create jobsaims to solve not only the current budget crisis and revenue crisis, but also to put our state on the path to a fair, just, and equitable tax system, guaranteeing a more stable revenue stream for state services.

This program would bring our state out of the current budget crisis, and create a fair, equitable, progressive tax system, with those who have more money paying a higher rate of taxes.

Taxing corporations and the income of the wealthy would enable us to stop relying on regressive sales taxes and on constantly extending local taxing authority to solve revenue shortfalls.

This must be combined with an economic stimulus package to create more living-wage jobs and improve the standard of living:

1. Raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour plus benefits, and continue the cost-of-living escalator
2. Extend unemployment benefits for the duration of unemployment
3. Create a Public Works Jobs Program to rebuild the infrastructure of our state: roads, bridges, schools, public hospitals, clinics, mass transit, and other public needs
4. Expand the Basic Health Program to guarantee comprehensive medical coverage for everyone in the state, including prescription drug coverage, modeled on Maines program

If we tax the rich, we can:
*Fully fund public education, including paying teachers fair wages and reducing class sizes
*Create a program to pay for prescription drugs for all, especially seniors
*Pay for real solutions to the traffic problems we face
*Stop raising property taxes so high that people are driven out of their homes
*Fund a Public Works Job Program to rebuild our infrastructure, create full employment

Three wrong approaches

The Tim Eyman demagogic approach appeals to the resentment against the tax system, but proposes fixes that increase the burden on workers and the poor, and prevents government from doing its appropriate job providing benefits to the people of our state. His solutions are worse than the problem.

Another mistaken approach advocates increasing taxes on workers and the poor to pay for essential programs, pitting workers and the needs of the poor and children against each other.

We also reject the approach of many mainstream politicians to increase taxes, user fees, local taxing authority, in a piecemeal fashion, leaving us with a more complex and unfair tax system.

What You Can Do!

1. Call, e-mail, and write to your State Senator and Representatives, demanding a fair tax system, starting with eliminating the sales tax on everything except luxury goods.
2. Demand a pledge from candidates this fall to tax the rich and close the loopholes
3. Get your union, church, and community organizations to pass resolutions calling for an end to the sales tax, replacing it with a corporate income tax
4. Get your organization to join one of the coalitions working to fix our tax system
5. Join the only organization with a consistent program to meet the needs of workers: the Communist Party

For more information, contact the
Washington State
Communist Party
P. O. Box 24806
Seattle, WA 98124

Phone: (206) 725-1555


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