The state that easily handed President Obama a victory last November while passing voter-approved referendums legalizing same-sex marriage and marijuana consumption also happens to have the nation’s highest tax burden on the poor.
Poor families in Washington state pay 16.9 percent of their total income in state and local taxes, more than any other state in the nation, according to a new report from the nonprofit Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which advocates for progressive tax policies.
Washington takes the top spot by a sizable lead. For the poor in Illinois, 13.8 percent of their income goes to paying state and local taxes. In Florida, those taxes eat up 13.3 percent of the income of the poor. The share in Hawaii is 13 percent, followed by Arizona at 12.9 percent.
And the truly shameful thing is, this isn't news. Washington has long had the most regressive tax structure in the nation—while our poorest households pay 16.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes, our wealthiest households only pay 2.8 percent. Meanwhile, neighboring Oregon has one of the least regressive tax structures in the nation, thanks to its "high reliance on income taxes and very low use of consumption taxes," according to the report, as well as a 6 percent Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
To our credit, Washington has a state EITC too. Yay for us! Unfortunately, our legislators have never actually funded it, so it is not available to our working poor. Again, we totally suck.
So for all those people who roll their eyes at Kshama Sawant every time she campaigns on implementing a millionaire's tax in Seattle, enjoy you totally fucking shameful tax system.