Readers of daily newspapers across the state have come to expect The Olympian to stake out the farthest left position of any of its competitors, keeping in mind that no media source can get to the left of Seattle’s Stranger, but thankfully it only comes out once a week. The state capitol’s paper is often off by itself, perhaps best demonstrated by being the only paper in the state in 2012 to think Jay Inslee could do the job of governor (fyi, they were wrong on that) and therefore endorsed him.
That’s why it was nothing short of shocking to see the Olympian editorial today that praised a judge for knocking down the attempt to create an income tax in the city. However, upon further review, the paper isn’t really against the tax, just that they didn’t like being a guinea pig for Seattle liberals unless those activists would cover the city’s legal bills that were guaranteed to get rung up defending the policy.
As the paper wrote, “King County activists wanted to use Olympia as a test case for the legality of a graduated income tax, but it was clear early on that cities lack authority to enact such a tax. That is exactly what Judge Jack Nevin ruled. Besides the illegality of the measure, the costs for an election and inevitable legal fights over the constitutionality of such a tax — if approved by voters — were not welcome.Olympia has its hands full with other priorities that are more appropriate for a city — from parks to policing, housing, homelessness and the ongoing development of a downtown development strategy.”
Despite understanding that it was appropriate for the city’s leaders to actually focus on priorities that they could impact, the paper’s editorialists could not help but throw a bone to those that want to hurt the state’s economic competitiveness by creating an income tax, writing “An income tax may ultimately be appropriate for financing Washington state government services, including higher education.”
What might also “ultimately be appropriate” is having the state fund public education with its first dollars, rather than continue to grow the size of state government by keeping every current program in place, and create a new tax to fund our schools and universities.
But that’s not an argument that The Olympian is ready to make just yet. Evidently some things never change.
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