Recently, outgoing two-term Governor and Former AG Chris Gregoire decided to make one last ditch effort to save education in Washington State, facing a budget shortfall and a supreme court order to restore billions to schools in the state.
At the heart of the issue is the collection of sales taxes across state lines, whereas Washington residents only pay sales taxes to businesses that operate within state borders.
Gov. Gregoire proposed expanding the sales tax to affect out of state sales to Washington residents, to 'level the playing field' for local businesses who must charge the sales tax, going so far to propose that the tax expansion be included with federal budget negotiations.
The Washington sales tax structure is the most regressive in the entire country, expanding its use it will have a negative effect on demand on those who would be most affected by a sales tax increase, answering those who may have legitimate concerns about raising taxes in a fragile economy.
Since many people come from out to state to work in Washington (eg Microsoft), these immigrants have little interest in helping a state they have no historical ties to and wouldn't benefit from educationally, so they will vote against other forms of taxes that would help state fund education.
This is coupled with the fact that the people who are hit hardest by the sales tax have little clout in the state capitol, the fact that many believe they pay 'too much' in taxes sentiment is common in many places, people who have a political agenda and see proposals through a political lens, and the fact that the sales tax and fees are easier to pass.
This explains why Washington has raised licensing fees, traffic fees, and parks fees steadily over the past few years.
The effect this has is two-fold as fees are inherently regressive, (those with more money are less affected) and long-time Washington residents effectively subsidize new residents because Washington residents have always paid the fees and transportation taxes, but new residents have not, yet both reap the same benefit.
Even with the help of Bill Gates Sr., Washington voters still rejected revenue for our failing colleges, universities and schools, and recently adopted race-to-the-bottom charter schools initiative as a 'solution' so they wouldn't be asked to ever pay more for education.
The charter schools initiative has failed every time it has come up until now, and only passed with a scant 50.7% to 49.3% majority.
This mentality of new Washington residents and big business cherry picking the tax climate and the immigration climate has left many native Washingtonians in the economic wilderness.
Native Washingtonians and those who have lived here for most of their lives have seen their frontier heritage of libertarianism turned against them in the form of a persistent regression of taxes.
Self-entitlement has worked its way into the public sector, leading local and state governments to use every 'gotcha capitalism' trick they can find to squeeze dollars from the bottom up. Cities routinely use traffic cameras as a major source of revenue, mailing the fines directly to your home, and Seattle recently instituted distracted driving fees.
You would'nt guess Washington has a progressive nature based on its tax structure. This is why we should be opposed to expanding the sales tax. And you would find even less people who would appreciate irony of this situation.