It’s in all the Democrat talking point memos, being used from Jay Inslee on down to the newest appointed state representative, to spend some time during today’s start of the legislative session to attack Republicans for supporting “tax loopholes”. Their story goes that if we only let the liberals close all the unfair tax loopholes, why then they could fully fund public education.
Which is, of course, a total lie. And every one of these Democrats using this talking point knows it’s a lie.
Set aside for a moment that every one of the items in the state’s tax code which has been passed in the last 30 years – whether it’s called a tax break, tax incentive or tax loophole – was signed into law by a Democrat Governor. Because if you don’t overlook that fact, then you might have to ask the embarrassing question of why, if one of these tax items in so unfair, why did a Democrat put it into law?
Instead, just look at the numbers for the truth. According to the Olympia crowd, we are about $5 billion short of what we need to fully fund our public schools, as the state constitution requires and Democrat-controlled legislatures have been ignoring for a generation. And there certainly are some items in the tax code which, if repealed, would generate hundreds of millions in tax revenue for the state.
So that must be why Jay Inslee is in favor of repealing one of the biggest tax breaks, the sales tax on food, right? After all, getting rid of that tax break alone would bring in over $1 billion in taxes every year (82.08.0293). I’m not sure if I’ve heard him talk about that one, but if he was being honest with the voters, it would have to be on the list, right?
And of course if the Olympia liberals are serious about cleaning up the tax code, then Speaker Frank Chopp must have his eye on rolling back the sales tax exemption for prescription drugs (82.08.0281) because that would bring the state another half a billion dollars this year.
Or maybe Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson will focus on a smaller tax break closer to her Vashon Island home, the one that allows citizens from all over the state to help underwrite the Senator’s trips on the ferry (82.08.0255(1a,c)), as the fuel for passenger-only ferries is exempt from sales tax.
Or then again, you probably won’t hear the Democrats talk today about closing the tax loopholes they like. That wouldn’t really fit with the goal of their “big lie”, which is to attack Republicans. Instead, the Left will rail against a tax incentive which benefits refineries in our state which provide the type of middle-class jobs which liberals are usually in favor of, and which generate millions of dollars in state and local taxes.
Of course, even eliminating that relatively-small (about $20 million per year) tax incentive won’t come anywhere close to closing the multi-billion dollar public education funding gap which Democrats have allowed to grow for the last 30 years. That will have to wait until the Democrats fall back on their long-time favorite for generating more money – a state income tax.