Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Prediction Tuesday: GOP will cave on sales tax deduction

Several weeks ago Maria Cantwell charged up the blogosphere when she posted here at NPI ("Washington State's Working Families Deserve Better") explaining her vote on the minimum wage bill. Senator Cantwell pegged a gratuitous gouging of tipped workers in the bill for what it was, a cynical Republican ploy.

But that bill was called the "trifecta" by its sponsors because it also included a bill eviscerating the estate tax and another, the "extenders," which was an extension of several actual tax breaks for actual Americans that might actually help somebody besides the rich -- namely the R&D credit, the higher education expense deduction, and the state and local sales tax deduction.

This last part - the sales tax deduction - is worth hundreds and thousands of dollars to individual Washington taxpayers. Residents of most other states have long enjoyed deduction of their state taxes, because most have an income tax, and state income taxes have been deductible since they were invented. Citizens of states without income taxes got deductibility of their sales taxes only recently.

The prediction this Tuesday is this: When this pathetic Congress reconvenes in a few days, if it does nothing else, it will pass out the extenders. Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate minority leader, has promised to move the bill. Whether he gets a chance or it becomes sweetening for another Republican poop pie is a matter of arcane Senate rules that are beyond my ability or interest to fathom.

I do know, however, that among the other states in the same boat with Washington are Texas, Florida and North Carolina. And I know that in the spring Republicans used some of those arcane Senate rules to extend a dramatic reduction in dividend and capital gains taxes [which apply if you are too rich to use a 401(k)] out to 2011. Will they really go home in an election year having to explain they were so busy taking care of the rich they couldn't deliver actual value to their constituents?

Also, a repeat of a late addition to the last Prediction Tuesday: Anyone who wants to explore apprenticeship opportunities in Washington should start at the Labor & Industries website that shows a full listing of the programs and application procedures. If you want a career with a future in a skilled trade, check it out.

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