Tim Burgess to Olympia: Income tax, yo

Election Year Tim Burgess is a lot more fun that Regular Time Tim Burgess because for all of his NIMBY-loving, pro-police, anti-homeless bullshit, he can actually be really insightful. Plus, because he’s desperately trying to one-up Jon Grant and John “Rocker” Roderick, he’s actually doing things and saying stuff and making things happen.

It’s really an exciting turn!

Anyway, today on his blog — WHICH IS STILL ON TYPEPAD. Confidential to Tim: We are available for hire. We can help you set up a Tumblr. It’s fun! — he pointed out some pretty real realities that don’t have a ton to do with Seattle-specific policies (unless we roll out a city-wide income tax, which we could do!) but are very important. 

From the Burgess blog:

If Washington had instituted an income tax of 10.6% on personal income in 2005 — AND eliminated the business and occupation tax (a corporate income tax on gross revenues), the sales tax and the property tax — the state would have still collected an additional $28.4 billion in the last 10 years, more than enough to adequately support our underfunded education system, provide more financial support for affordable housing, and fund our transportation system so vital to economic stability. Importantly, the unjust burden would be lifted off those living in poverty.

BOOOOOOOOOOM. 

And like, Burgess is right: Washington has a fucking terrible tax system. It’s something that our state legislators are struggling with now because we have, time and again, failed to find real, actual solutions (LIKE AN INCOME TAX) and instead have just been like “gulp! Hope next year some money falls out of the sky or all of the children educate themselves or something!”

And unfortunately, there’s not a whole ton we, as a City, can do to curb it.

But, you know. There’s a Governor’s race on pretty soon. And one of those dudes actually wants to make the problem worse. 

An email from Governor Howard Dean:

If you’re as heavily invested in politics as I am (and I have a feeling you are), you also tend to spend a lot of time fixating on what’s happening in Washington. But in recent years, perpetual gridlock has kept Congress from even functioning properly, let alone taking innovative steps to rebuild our middle class.

In the meantime, the true battleground for the heart and soul of our country has shifted to the states, where we now face an uphill battle. Republicans – with the help of a massive, well-funded network of corporate-backed, radical right-wing organizations – have staged an unprecedented coup of state legislatures.

Right now, the GOP controls 68 of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers, more than they have in the history of their party. And they’re using that power to pass unpopular legislation that actively undermines the ability of middle-class families to make ends meet.

Democrats need to make a concerted effort to win in 2016 – and that’s where Democracy for America comes in. Since 2004, DFA has been focused on making the 50 State Strategy a reality, supporting Democratic candidates in every state running for every level of office. We have successfully helped elect 831 DFA-endorsed candidates running for everything from the local school board to the U.S. Senate – and we are setting ambitious goals again for the 2016 electoral cycle.

DFA wants to train and empower 25,000 volunteers by 2016 – the kind of grassroots army that could tip the balance for Democrats in hundreds of close elections nationwide. Will you help us make that goal a reality by chipping in $3 or more a month from now until Election Day?

It could get much worse if we don’t fight back now.

In 2020, voters will elect state lawmakers who will be responsible for redrawing districts all over the country – a fundamental driver of who will control Congress and state legislatures for the next decade.

That’s why we cannot let Republicans continue to out-organize us on the state level. Not only are we losing important policy battles that are moving these states backwards, but we are also missing out on the opportunity to build the bench of future leaders necessary if we are going to grow our power in Washington in the years to come.

Through the Purple to Blue Project, DFA is intentionally working to counteract the Republican takeover of state legislatures by identifying winnable states and pro-actively recruiting and endorsing candidates in those states who can help to tip the balance. In 2015, we’re working with candidates on the ground in places like New York, New Hampshire and Virginia to run winning campaigns and build progressive power – and we will expand the program again to include more states in 2016.

It’s no longer enough for Democrats to sit back and complain about Republican dominance in the states. It is time for us to take action – and I am proud to say that DFA is and will continue to be a trailblazer when it comes to implementing the 50 State Strategy.


Thank you for all that you do,

- Howard

Gov. Howard Dean, Founder
Democracy for America