August 24, 2010
Congratulations To Seattle
The city across Lake Washington to my west
is tied with San Francisco for the
9th highest combined sales tax rate
in the United States, beating out 98 other large cities. Many in Seattle worked hard for this, and they
have a right to be proud of their success. (Though they may be a little embarrassed to be beaten for
the top spot by two Alabama cities, Birmingham and Montgomery.)
No doubt, given Seattle's favorable demographics — high levels of education and income and few
children and elderly poor — the city has bought superb services with this high tax rate.
I am sure that Seattle's schools are the envy of the whole state, that the streets are in superb condition, that the
basic infrastructure has not been neglected, that any homeless problems have solved, that street gangs are
nonexistent, that congestion is at most a minor problem, and that the libraries have extended their hours and
services. With that amount of revenue, how could it be otherwise?
Majorities in Seattle have been so proud of this accomplishment that they have shared it with the rest of
us living in King County, so that our sales taxes are also quite high. (Oddly enough, the county is
threatening to cut services, in spite of this flood of revenue. Or continue to cut services, I should say,
since the county has given up a number of services in recent years.)
Cross posted at
Jim Miller on Politics.
(Washington state, including Seattle, exempts food and drugs from the sales tax. You can
find details on the tax rules in an annoying video
here, or in this
Wikipedia article (with the
usual Wikipedia caveats).
By way of the TaxProf.)
Posted by Jim Miller at August 24, 2010
09:05 AM | Email This
Food and beverages that you buy from a restaurant, bar, or tavern in King County are not exempt from sales taxes, and in fact are subject to an additional tax, making the total tax rate on these items 10% (matching the highest rates of Birmingham and Montgomery).
2. ...and this is why I live about a half mile north of the Snohomish County border.
And I thought we had it bad here in Dallas at 8.25%
And I thought we had it bad here in Dallas at 8.25%
5. Does this include gas taxes that Rossi voted in favor of?
6. ... the city has bought superb services with this high tax rate. I am sure that Seattle's schools are the envy of the whole state...
Just wondering, Jim -- what fraction of that sales tax goes to the Seattle school district?
Anyone with half a brain realizes that this is as relevant as saying I have more coins on my desk than Bill Gates. Of course one of the largest cities in a state with no income tax will have a high sales tax. Duh.
Indeeed, the same website that you got this shocking data from also says that Washington ranks 35th among states for overall tax burden. (They don't break it down by city and their latest data is for 2008, but this ranking is certainly more meaningful than the one you cite.)
Don't know where the '35th ranking' comes from, but this Tax Foundation report
states that 'State and Local Tax Burden Per Capita, FY 2008' for Washington is 15th of 50.
Other selected Washington 'Hall of Shame' rankings:
State Business Tax Climate Index, 2010 overall 9th, not bad,but let's make that worse with an income tax!
Tax Freedom Day by State, 2009 April 16th, 6th worst
State Tax Collections Per Capita, 2008 16th worst
State and Local Revenues Per Capita, 2007 17th worst
State Individual Income Tax Rates No ranking, yet
State General Sales and Use Tax Rates 9th worst
State General Sales Tax Collections Per Capita, 2008 We're Number Two! Yea!!
Combined State & Local Sales Tax Rates We're Number Three!
State and Local General and Selective Sales Tax Collections Per Capita, 2007 Again, we're Number Two! Yea!!
State Gasoline Tax Rates 6th worst
State Spirits Excise Tax Rates We're Number One! Yea!!
State and Local Debt Per Capita 6th worst
Bruce - It's good to see you looking at the data.
Let me suggest you look a little farther. Like Washington, Texas has no income tax. The largest city in Texas is Houston. Compare their tax rates to ours -- which you can, using the Wikipedia article -- to ours, and then come back and tell us what you found.
Incidentally, Texas has had exceptional employment growth over the last decade. If the rest of the nation had performed as well, we might have missed this last recession entirely. It certainly would have been much milder.
No doubt there is at least one person on the left who has said that the nation could learn something from Texas (or New Hampshire) -- it's a big country, after all -- but there haven't been many on the left willing to learn from those successes. Or even to recognize them.
10. This 'excessive' tax rate is why anti-tax Republicans swept in to power in the Seattle city council and mayor's race in Seattle last November. Oh... wait.
yaddacubed: That 35th ranking is from the Tax Foundation here, "State-Local Tax Burden Compared to U.S. Average"
Also, I noticed you skipped these numbers:
State Revenues per capita...25
State and Local Tax Burden As a Percentage of
Property Taxes on Owner-Occupied Housing
as Percentage of Median Home Value....25
State and Local Property Tax Collections
Income Per Capita by State...8
My point? It all depends on what statistics you want to look at, doesn't it?
@9: Incidentally, Texas has had exceptional employment growth over the last decade. If the rest of the nation had performed as well, we might have missed this last recession entirely. It certainly would have been much milder.
Yeah! And maybe if we had Detroit's tax rate, we could get Detroit's growth!
Sorry, Jim. You're not quite connecting the dots here.
Yay! One of the highest combined sales taxes! We should add to the trouble and institute an income tax, as well! That would be awesome! Burden people even more! That'll show 'em. After all, the citizens are here to serve government, not the other way around!
Um, did y'all 'buy' my version of a liberal?? Do I get an Oscar?
14. In related news, Adobe, E-bay and EA games are leaving CA and setting up shop in Utah. Why you ask? Taxes.
15. #14: You'd think California would get the hint.....
California won't get the hint. The problem is the unions and special interests- that own the liberal progressives, who are impervious to the truth and reality. There's an electoral tidal wave offshore heading for the coast and is forecasted to hit on November 3rd and the ferocity of this may well render and damage the unions and special interests into a less powerful force - we can only hope, for California is the nation's trend setter.
Obamanomics sucks the big one !
@14: In related news, Adobe, E-bay and EA games are leaving CA and setting up shop in Utah. Why you ask? Taxes.
So let's see... Adobe sets up a subsidiary office in Utah and it's "leaving the state"? By that logic, Facebook "left" Palo Alto for Seattle...
@16: California's budget crisis is simple... the same people that are willing to give themselves tax cuts through referenda are also quite willing to give themselves great new government programs through referenda. (Not to mention that relying on sales taxes for state revenue is incredibly stupid.)
But hey, why talk rationally when you can lapse into babbling Obama Derangement Syndrome?
19. I am sure that Seattle's schools are the envy of the whole state, that the streets are in superb condition, that the basic infrastructure has not been neglected, that any homeless problems have solved, that street gangs are nonexistent, that congestion is at most a minor problem, and that the libraries have extended their hours and services. With that amount of revenue, how could it be otherwise?
If Seattle existed in a vacuum, that might be true. But we have to ship large amounts of our money to the impoverished portions of Washington State, via the state government, and to the impoverished interior states, via the federal government. These massive transfers of our hard-earned wealth to the parasitical Eastern Washington and freeloading 'red' states diminish our ability to provide for ourselves as we might choose. We keep hoping those regions will embrace their own individualistic, free-market slogans, but they never seem to do so. Perhaps you could help them to see the error of their ways, Jim?
If not, could you please stop their bawling when we ask them to refrain from feeding at our plate? Thanks!
20. tensor, if Eastern WA began voting democrat but was still less wealthy, would you like them more?
21. f Eastern WA began voting democrat but was still less wealthy, would you like them more?
As a patriotic American with a civic mind, I have no problem supporting my fellow Washingtonians with my tax dollars. One of the first votes I ever cast in this state was to increase the fees I paid for my telephone service, so as to provide "9/11" service to Eastern Washington.
Since then, I have watched as my state and federal taxes have gone to support the inland portions of Washington State and America. All I ever seem to get in return is sneering, insulting, hate-filled rhetoric about how my tolerance for my fellow gay Americans makes me a "filthy degenerate", who is "destroying America" with my "immorality". Although political leaders in such places commit adultery with the same (or greater) frequency than do my own elected officials, this dismal reality never seems to enter into the rhetoric I have above described.
In return for my generous financial support, I do not expect gratitude, only civility. Please explain to me why I am wrong to do so.
:-), tensor, your "generous" taxes of a few extra dollars in phone fees are, um, cute.
Now imagine paying all the sales tax, & real estate taxes PLUS 10s of thousands in B&O tax (which I doubt you're paying) plus another few thousand in something called "Personal property tax" that I also doubt you're paying, because I never saw charges for such until we owned a business. There are those of us who are paying MUCH MORE than a few dollars in phone tax and really ARE holding up this state financially. What do WE get from you libs out there? "Sneering, insulting hate-filled rhetoric" about how business "exploits" people and is immoral,etc blah blah blah from the Left and cries that business must pay its "fair share" when it is already paying more than its fair share. We get no thanks OR civility. Only griping from special interest groups in Oly who wouldn't know the first thing what it's like to write 4-figure checks every quarter to the leeches in Olympia who King 5 showed aren't interested in investigating waste and fraud found by the media (think Paula Hammond, for one). Then find that the rates for your 10s of thousands of B&O tax got raised not four, not five or even 7% ---BUT A WHOPPING 20% starting last month, thanks to the looting democrats in Olympia who didn't see any problem with it, never mind that most of them weren't likely subject to such punishment.
Try it, sometime. Then come and talk to us about your , ahem, "generosity"......
@18 - California's problem sits squarely in it's Marxist State Legislature, which if since 1990 had kept spending to inflation and population growth would have had a huge surplus
Please quit blaming Howard Jarvis or the little people.
I think eastern washington would love to seperate from Western Washington.
Heck, all the taxes the could levy on farm goods and auto fuels being shipped "out of state" to Seattle would probably more than pay for their government.
Re-arranging the tax laws in "their" state would also allow them to change the economic climate to be more friendly to their base of businesses than the current "Boeing friendly - all others F off" business climate fostered by the dems west of the mountains.
Eastern Washington collects tax dollars from Western Washington because the entire state - from tax incentives to zoning laws - is set up to feed businesses into Seattle. The whole of eastern washington would adjust nicely without their egos or their tax dollars.
25. These massive transfers of our hard-earned wealth to the parasitical Eastern Washington and freeloading 'red' states diminish our ability to provide for ourselves as we might choose.
This bilge from the same imbecile that believed on another recent thread that foreign nationals actually have a right to be here in this country and be afforded all of the rights of US citizens without any consideration of the long term effects to this country's economics. I've never heard such stupidity aired in public since the short lived, yet failed experiment known as "air america"....congrats Tensor!
26. why talk rationally when you can lapse into babbling Obama Derangement Syndrome?
An Obamabot rambling on about 'Obama derangement syndrome'? That's rich. 2010 and 2012 will be a wake up call for sane Democrats (if there is such an animal alive in the DNC- Reference Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller for the last remaining species known in the US)
Seattle having an epiphany in my lifetime is not likely. You need an intelligent, free thinking population to understand that the current course of action isn't working...and Seattlites apparently aren't up to this mental challenge. Meanwhile, I just enjoy watching the ensuing carnage from Snohomish County.
27. tensor got awfully quiet.....got owned much, tensor?
28. #13. I DO like Michele.
Weird little statue for you!