LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Death and taxes

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Most of us are against both death and taxes. It's obvious that there is no escaping either. This election season the anti-tax rhetoric is louder than usual.

There's a lot of money being spent to pass Initiatives 1053, 1082, 1100 and 1105, and to defeat Initiative 1098. The three largest contributors to the anti-1098 campaign are British Petroleum, Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase.

Washington State has the most regressive tax system in the nation. We are dead last in terms of tax fairness. We are one of only seven states that don't have an income tax.

Some states have income taxes both at the state and city or county level. Some states have both a sales tax and an income tax.

Why not tax pop, candy and bottled water? They all have big health or environmental downsides. Pop and candy are big contributors to obesity and the increase in diabetes.

The tax on bottled water is the funding source for Referendum 52, which would help renovate schools with mold, asbestos and worn-out plumbing and make selected schools more energy efficient.

Older Americans grew up with a luxury tax. Why not bring it back? It would be difficult because it would impact the rich, who have all the money, and they could fund umpteen ads to convince voters that the tax would be onerous and un-American. And so it goes.

The U.S. tax burden rank compared to the rest of the world isn't that onerous. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative policy research institute, ranks the United States as having the 54th highest tax burden in the world. The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a 33 member organization that is a "forum of countries committed to democracy and a market economy," has a tax burden averageo f 36, the U.S. average is 28.2, well below the average.

If you are going to have a reaction of "no!" to every present tax and every proposed to new tax, at least think of the consequences.

There are real, negative consequences to voting out every tax in sight.

This election cycle more people than usual are in the "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree" camp and are less mindful of the school of thought that "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization."

Norm Osterman
Walla Walla

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