January 30, 2017
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Washington Research Council policy brief: 'Washington State Businesses Pay 58 Percent of State and Local Taxes'

There's a lot of talk about "new revenue" in Olympia this legislative session, so a recent policy brief by the Washington Research Council (WRC) is a good reminder that employers already pay well over half of the taxes in Washington. In fact, businesses pay 58 percent of all state and local taxes. The WRC examined how that figure compares with other states, and the results aren't always good when it comes to Washington's competitive position.

A few facts from the new report:

· The percentage of Washington’s private sector gross state product paid in business taxes was 5.5 percent; in 40 other states the percentage paid in taxes was lower.

· State businesses paid an average of $7,600 per employee in taxes; in 45 other states, businesses paid less per employee.

· Washington had the eighth highest growth rate of business tax revenues, 4.5 percent, from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015.

· The Tax Foundation rates Washington state sixth best for personal income taxes, 48th for corporate income taxes, 49th for sales taxes, 27th for property taxes, and 18th for unemployment insurance taxes.

Despite those facts, the Tax Foundation says Washington has the 17th-best tax climate for business. But that could change. Lest lawmakers lose sight of the bigger picture, the WRC reminds us that -- like it or not -- states compete with each other for economic growth.

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Kudos to Microsoft for bold public-policy goals for Washington state

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Microsoft is taking its regional public service to a new level with the release of an ambitious legislative agenda for Washington state.

Under its president, Brad Smith, the company has increasingly advocated for education, transportation and economic development.

Recognizing that the entire state has unmet needs, the company is broadening its agenda beyond the Puget Sound area. Best of all, Microsoft is offering to help incubate and partly fund several new programs to get them launched.

The public benefits from such corporate citizens providing thoughtful and supportive engagement on critical policy issues.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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