Why the 1% wins in Washington State

Republicans, “moderate” Dems, and their corporate allies manufactured a budget crisis by handing out tax giveaways to the rich, by wasting trillions of dollars on unnecessary wars, by widespread corruption, and by recklessly deregulating and bailing out Wall Street, Big Oil, and other corporations.

Washington State, which has one of the most regressive tax systems in the nation, is faced with a $2 billion dollar shortfall. So the legislature is starting a special session to deal with the crisis.  (Check out the Seattle P-I’s photos of protests in Olympia against the budget cuts: Protests, arrests kick off special legislative session. Hurray for the occupiers!)

Governor Gregoire and other legislative leaders plan to increase the regressive sales tax by half a penny.  But there’s a much better ways to raise revenue: eliminate unfair tax exemptions. See here.

Both raising the sales tax and eliminating tax exemptions would require dealing with Tim Eyman’s I-1053. In either case, legislators have to obtain a 2/3 super-majority of legislators — virtually impossible — or submit a revenue proposal to the voters via a referendum.

So why are our leaders proposing the regressive sales tax increase instead of eliminating tax exemptions?

Because it’s politically more “feasible.” So I am told by people in the know. What does “feasible” mean? The special interests who are opposed to elimination of their tax giveaways will fight like hell, with well-paid lobbyists, to retain their handouts.  In contrast, the interests of the middle class and the poor are represented diffusely and in a disorganized fashion. The legislators won’t do the right thing unless they’re forced to, by the insistence of voters and activists like us.

So the 1% wins.

The 99% won’t win until they demand to be heard.

The voters were deceived into voting against their own self-interest when they approved (the unconstitutional) I-1053 and rejected I-1098.  Now the Republican plan to drown government in a bathtub is coming closer to realization.

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