Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sorry, Senator…

…this won't do.

Darlene Fairley is not only my own personal State Senator, she's a leader in Olympia, a committee chair and member of the Powerful Senate Ways & Means Committee®. That stature (not to mention her safe seat in this capital D throught C Democratic district) makes this weak tea on taxes particular disappointing...
There was talk this session about increasing the sales tax by 0.3% (which would amount to 30 cents on a $100 purchase) to maintain funding for our health care safety net. By law, all tax increases have to be approved by a majority of voters. However, polling showed that people in several districts are not willing to pay more in taxes to provide these services. Polling also showed disapproval of a personal or corporate income tax, although studies indicate that our reliance on a regressive sales tax makes us the state with the most unfair tax system for lower and middle income taxpayers in the US. We’ll have to see what happens with these tax proposals in the future.
"Polling showed..."? "We'll have to see..."? Sorry Senator, but as one of the 49 people out of more than three and a half million elected to provide leadership and representation for your constituents and our state, you'll have to do better than that.

As you knowingly labor session after session to craft budgets based on "the most unfair tax system for lower and middle income taxpayers in the US," you must be likewise aware that you are ill-representing those lower and middle income taxpayers, a good many of whom you must know live right here in the 32nd. Our only hope is your leadership, and your leadership offers us "we'll have to see."

Who, exactly, is "we" if it is not the Democratic leadership of the Washington State Senate? Who will take the challenge of bringing those voters in "several districts" (not, I'm guessing, yours) out of the wilderness of fear and ignorance about tax justice and revenue security for our state if not the Democratic leadership of the Washington State Senate? Who will put a proposal before the people for a stable l and equitable revenue stream for our state if not the Democratic leadership of the Washington State Senate? Who will conduct the aggressive campaign of public education - time and again if need be - that will lift us out of last place in the tax equity standings, if not you?

Sorry, Senator. 'We'll see' won't do.

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