The Seattle Times Uses Fuzzy Math to Trash I-1098

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The Seattle Times editorial board (pictured in the artist's rendering at right) doesn't like taxes. This we know. What we didn't know before Tuesday, however, was that the Times would be willing to deceive its own readers in order to prove a point.

Here's what I'm talking about.

In Tuesday's op-ed advising voters to say no on I-1098, the initiative that would impose a state income tax on the rich, the Times wrote:

The new tax created by I-1098 would top out at 9 percent of adjusted gross income, with no deductions. That's not quite the highest rate in the country: Oregon's, at 11 percent, is at the top. But Oregon has zero sales tax. We would have high rates of sales and income taxes, which would be putting up a sign saying: Don't invest here. Don't create jobs here.
As Sightline as already pointed out, the Times is lying by omission. Here's why.

Comparing Washington to Oregon is comparing apples to oranges. Or, if you like, comparing scales to tiers.

Ya see, Oregon's tax set-up is based on scales. Its citizens are taxed on the first dollar they make and every dollar thereafter based on an ascending scale -- the more you make, the more you pay.

Under I-1098, Washington's tax set-up wouldn't consist of scales but rather three tiers. Any couple making less than $400,000 wouldn't pay a cent. According to the Office of Financial Management, that tier includes almost all -- or 98.8-percent -- Washingtonians.

The other 1.2 percent pay taxes on anything they make above $400,000. So if you're lucky enough to make $400,001, you're only taxed on that one dollar and all you owe the state is one shiny nickel.

Listen, I appreciate you sitting through that thesis I just wrote. Because it's important to understand the vagaries that make our proposed system under I-1098 different than what's currently being used in Oregon.

You'd think an editorial board would take pains to illuminate these kinds of subtle nuances in policy. Or to point out that, instead of hurting the state, I-1098 would help tremendously by lowering property and business taxes and raising billions dedicated to fund education. Not slip the D batteries out of the flashlight while the reader isn't looking and then say, "Just trust my eyes."

But no, to the people at the Times editorial board that "comfort the afflicted; afflict the comfortable" edict has always seemed a little backwards. So instead of arguing against I-1098 based on the facts, they just make up some new ones.

Put that in your fucking house ad.

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