Seattle, Wash. – Washington state has 694 tax exemptions, ranging from sales tax exemptions to business tax breaks.
These exemptions are
estimated to save taxpayers and businesses $105.9 billion between 2015
and 2017. Almost one-third of that amount is from retail sales and use
tax exemptions, according to a 2016 tax exemption study by the
Washington department of revenue.
But consumers often don’t know why certain items are tax-free, while others are not.
Generally, food is not taxed, as
long as it was not prepared for on-site consumption. Plain water is not
taxed, but many other beverages are.
Feminine hygiene products are taxed. Candy is not.
But even within a candy store,
“Several items at Fran’s are taxed, and several things are not taxed. So
this can be a little bit confusing for our customers,” said Andrina
Bigelow, the CEO of Fran’s Chocolates.
Until 1935, no more than half a
dozen new exemptions appeared in any single year. But since 1990, state
legislators have enacted more than 340 new tax exemptions.
Here’s a look at the rhyme and reason, or lack thereof, behind our state’s tax exemptions.
Food and Drinks
Prepared food is taxed, but food
that consumers take home to prepare is not taxed. But even with that
general rule, there are exceptions.
“It is a lot of work for a small
business to figure out how to properly report on. And we spend quite a
bit of time,” Bigelow said.
In the Georgetown location of Fran’s Chocolates, Bigelow showed KIRO 7 various items for sale that have different tax rules.
A box of chocolates is not taxed,
unless it is sold in a specially made, Japanese lacquer box. Because the
cost of the box itself makes up more than half the cost of the package,
the item is no longer considered ‘food’. Therefore, it is taxed.
But Bigelow showed KIRO 7 a larger
lacquer box, which is not taxed. The cost of that lacquer box is just
under 50 percent of the total cost of the package, so the majority of
the cost is the chocolate. Therefore, it is not taxed.
If staff in the store prepare a
cup of hot chocolate for a customer, that is considered a prepared item,
which is taxed. But a customer who buys a package of hot chocolate to
make at home will not pay tax.
Water is not taxed. But any drink with natural or artificial sweeteners would be taxed.
Business and Occupation Tax
Washington state has 190 B&O
tax breaks, which cost the state $12.5 billion and cost local
governments $2.5 billion over a two-year period.
Many tax breaks are for major industries like oil, timber, aviation and technology, to spur economic growth.
“Some of them make economic
sense, and they’re creating opportunities for economic development in
rural areas around the state,” said State Sen. Reuven Carlyle
(D-Seattle). “Some of them are categorically ridiculous, and they can’t
justify a return on investment if they tried.”
How much revenue the state loses
By having 193 retail sales and use
taxes, the state loses out on close to $17 billion in tax revenue,
while local entities lose out on a combined $6.7 billion over a two-year
But even if these exemptions
didn’t exist, state and local governments would not necessarily collect
on all that money. Analysts figure that there are certain purchases
consumers simply would not make if they became taxed.
Of the revenue that the state loses to exemptions, 33.5 percent come from retail sales and use tax breaks.
Business and occupation tax breaks make up another 22.6 percent. Property tax breaks make up 21.2 percent.
In comparison, more than 87 percent of local tax revenue lost to exemptions comes from property tax breaks.
A big picture look
Carlyle said in Washington, there are high tax rates, narrowly applied, with hundreds of exemptions.
“It’s such a Swiss cheese package
of upside down backwards mess, that it’s very difficult for us to pick
and choose one or two that are so egregious that raise substantial
amounts of money,” he said.
Carlyle said it might make more
sense to lower the sales tax modestly and to use that money for
really-low income families in terms of a homestead exemption.
Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma),
who spoke to KIRO 7 in August about proposing a sales tax exemption on
feminine hygiene products, said she would want to see what other
exemptions are perhaps unneeded.
Proponents of eliminating sales
tax on feminine hygiene products like tampons or pads argue that such a
tax is essentially a tax on women.
“We’ve chosen winners and losers, in a way that’s just exacerbating inequity in our state,” Jinkins said
Democrats have one final shot to flip a Senate seat – but in order to pull off an upset, they need to quickly rally around the Louisiana candidate whose victory could be a bright spot in an otherwise dismal year. Public Service Commissioner – and jovial cattle farmer – Foster Campbell will face off against Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy, a twice-failed Senate candidate, in a Dec. 10 runoff.
On the surface, it might seem like a lost cause: A Democrat running a statewide campaign in Louisiana in the Year of Trump. On the contrary, though, Campbell has a legitimate shot to upset his opponent the same way Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards did in 2015. Yes, Louisiana has a Democratic governor. He’s busy at the moment cleaning up the fiscal mess left by his predecessor, failed presidential candidate and Kenneth-the-Page avatar Bobby Jindal.
Edwards pulled off an upset in part because of Jindal’s failures, and in part because he ran against David Vitter, a less-than-charismatic politician tainted by a bygone prostitution scandal. But Edwards prevailed not only as an anti-Jindal and anti-Vitter. As an Army veteran with family law enforcement ties and a calm demeanor, he was a strong candidate in his own right.
Campbell, too, is a good bet; he has a wicked sense of humor and speaks plainly. During a recent debate, he rebutted false allegations of ties to ex-KKK leader David Duke, saying, “I have nothing in common with David Duke other than we’re probably breathing.”
Democrats who feel frustrated, fearful, and angry following Donald J. Trump’s upset win, listen up: Go donate $5 to Campbell’s campaign. If you’re in Louisiana, vote for him on Dec. 10. If you know someone in Louisiana, spread the word. Help raise money and awareness for Campbell.
Electing Foster Campbell is the most immediate way to rebuke President-elect Trump. A Campbell victory would mean a 51-49 split in the Senate. This is the last best way to make a difference in 2016.
From Campbell’s website, he supports increasing minimum wage, college loan forgiveness, expanding Medicaid, and universal Pre-K. He was in the state legislature previously and you can see what he worked on. That included getting utilities to waive minimum deposit and connection fees for people fleeing domestic violence and cracking down on prisons charging outrageous amounts (as in $14 A MINUTE) for phone calls.
Hey guys, I just wanted to link this here because I haven’t seen it reported by a major publication yet – it’s important to remember that the many of the news outlets reporting on the meltdown of 2016 have a vested interest in normalizing Trump. Think of how they keep saying that the Republicans present a ‘unified’ front when in fact Donald Trump’s transition team is struggling over a peanut someone found on the floor and hitting each other in the face with rocks.
Over 100 Democrats have signed on to the movement to fire Bannon. Your campaign of contacting your reps is having a noticeable effect.
You’d be forgiven if the phrase “Portland goes green with
innovative water pipes” doesn’t immediately call to mind thoughts of
civil engineering and hydro-electric power. And yet, that’s exactly what
Oregon’s largest city has done by partnering with a company called Lucid Energy to generate clean electricity from the water already flowing under its streets and through its pipes.
Portland has replaced a section
of its existing water supply network with Lucid Energy pipes containing
four forty-two inch turbines. As water flows through the pipes, the
turbines spin and power attached generators, which then feed energy back
into the city’s electrical grid. Known as the “Conduit 3 Hydroelectric
Project,” Portland’s new clean energy source is scheduled to be up and
running at full capacity in March. According to a Lucid Energy FAQ detailing
the partnership, this will be the “first project in the U.S. to secure a
20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for renewable energy produced by
in-pipe hydropower in a municipal water pipeline.“
A short promotional video describes the technology and benefits involved in harnessing energy from municipal water pipelines.
As the video explains, Lucid Energy’s system isn’t affected by the
sort of external conditions (namely: the weather) upon which
other renewable energy sources–like solar and wind power– are reliant.
Nor does the technology, completely ensconced within a pipe, have
adverse effects on a surrounding environmental ecosystem, as an
exposed hydroelectric dam might.
Fast Company points out that, in
order to be cost and energy effective, Portland’s new power generators
must be installed in pipes where water flows downhill, without having to
be pumped, as the energy necessary to pump the water would negate the
subsequent energy gleaned. However, Fast Company also notes
that the system does more than simply provide electricity: It
can monitor both the overall condition of a city’s water supply
network as well as assess the drinking quality of the water flowing
That is SO COOL! West of the cascades we certainly don’t lack hills (excepting a few towns in the Willamette valley and the tiny places basically built on glorified sandbars like Ocean Shores). Water towers are built on hilltops anyway.
Does it noticeably change pressure, I wonder?
The long-debated idea of a guaranteed minimum annual income for Canadians moves a small step closer to reality this week.
Former Conservative senator Hugh Segal delivers a report this week on how the “basic income pilot” announced in Ontario’s February budget might work.
The Ontario government earmarked $25 million this fiscal year to establish a pilot project in the province sometime before April 2017, and appointed Segal in late June as an unpaid special adviser.
In an interview with CBC News, Segal gave some hints about his report, which is expected to be made public in mid-September for three months of public consultations.
He’s quick to dismiss suggestions that guaranteed incomes foster laziness.
“For all those good folks on the right … who say that if you pay people to do nothing, they will do nothing, I remind them that 70 per cent of the people who live beneath the poverty line in Ontario … have jobs.
“They just don’t earn enough through minimum wage to be above the poverty line,” he said.
“So the notion that this is about chocolate, and couches, and popcorn, and watching TV is actually without any substantial basis in fact.”
Segal, long an anti-poverty advocate, says any pilot project in Ontario must be in place for at least three years to be able to measure impacts effectively.
Let’s hope it doesn’t get buried like Mincome did
Some good news for y’all. The ACLU won a victory the other day in Flint Michigan. What do you want to bet that the cost of having to supply residents with clean water will inspire change pretty quickly?
Please donate to the ACLU if you haven’t already. You can probably spare $10. Give them $10. It goes so so far.
You can also set it up as a monthly donation, so if you want to donate more but can only spare $5 right now, you can!
If I experience any more threats, I WILL fill out this form and submit it to the Seattle Times.
Are you a Washington State resident who has been harassed since the election? If you’re comfortable, fill out this online form. <3
@tepuitrouble are you up for documenting your experience?
putmeincoach reblogged your post and added:
Please, list me all of those female architects, scientists and great minds that male architects and scientists ripped off. No, really, I am curious to see all of these female inventors and pioneers you’re speaking of.
Ada Lovelace – Founder of scientific computing, the world’s first computer programmer. Modern computers as we know them wouldn’t exist without her innovations.
Queen Seondeok of Silla – Silla was one of the three kingdoms in Korea’s Three Kingdom period and Seondeok was its first reigning Queen. She is well known for setting up the first astronomy tower in Asia and for founding several Buddhist temples.
Cecilia Payne – Discovered what the sun was made of. Was then prohibited from publishing her work. Henry Norris Russel republished her work as his own and received all the credit.
Jocelyn Bell Burnell – Discovered the first pulsar. Anthony Hewish took credit and listed her a non involved assistant, he had nothing to do with the discovery. Not only did he receive all the credit, he received the Nobel prize.
Lise Meitner – Co-discovered nuclear fission and her male colleagues refused to name her in their publication. The men won the Nobel Prize, and she received no credit.
Nettie Stevens – Discovered chromosomes determined sex, when she sent her work to a man for peer review, he published a book of her work passing it off as his own and named her a technician.
Marie Curie – Noted Nobel prize laureate (first lady to earn 2), discovered radium. Barred from many prestigious male dominated academic organizations like the French Academy due to being a female. She was demonized and attacked by men all her life simply for being superior to men in the field, and men in general.
Marie Van Brittan Brown – Co-invented home security surveillance that is the precursor of home security systems today. You wont hear her name in history class, not only is she a woman, she is a black woman. ERASED by nasty white men LIKE YOU.
Lucy Terry – Another historical black woman, erased by neo-colonialist white men. This young lady was a teenager when she composed the first known work of literature by an African American person.
Mary Shelley -Invented science fiction. She literally invented a genre of literature, she was a teenager when she wrote her first piece. Across the northern American continent. While she was pregnant.
Sacagawea – An indigenous American (Lemhi Shoshone) who led Lewis & Clark across the northern American continent. While she was pregnant.
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn – feminist, suffragette, civil rights activist, founded the ACLU
Sarah Parker Remond -worked to desegregate schools and end slavery. Also noted physician- but you wont read about her in your white history books because she is black. Its like you white dudes just threw together some shitty fan fiction and called that history.
Hedy Lamarr – came up with an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, necessary for wireless communication from the pre-computer age to the present day. She invented your wi-fi in addition to being an actress. SUCK IT.
Vera Rubin -Rejected from Princeton because she was female, went to Cornell instead and discovered dark matter while earning her PhD. Went on to make contributions that your simpleminded white male self couldn’t begin to fathom.
This list is just a taste of what women have accomplished. Women invented the core technologies that make civilization possible. This is a not a feminist myth, this is what anthropologists KNOW. Women have made those contributions in spite of astonishing hurdles. Hurdles like not being allowed to go to school, or not being allowed to work in an office with men, or join a professional society, or walk on the street, or own property. Hell, some of these women were legally deemed property, a fraction of a human being.
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Catherine the Great, Queen Christina of Sweden, Anacaona of Hispaniola, Hypatia of Athens, Aspasia of Thebes, Dido, Cleopatra, Nefertiti, Nzhinga of Matamba, Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Catherine of Spain, Queen Isabella of Castille, Florence Nightingale, Boudicca of the Picts, Hildegard of Bingen, Heloise of Paris, St Theresa of Avila, Theodora of Constantinople, Queen Sybila of Jerusalem, Queen Catherine de Medici, Mirabai of India, Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emmeline Pankhurst, Emily Murphy, Rosa Luxembourg, ArchEmpress Maria Theresa of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire…
Did you want more? Those are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head.
aww you put in mirabai :)
and of course…from the sciences…rosalind franklin, jocelyn burnell, ester lederburg, LISE MEITNER, mathilde krim, and countless, countless others (did you know that menten of michaelis-menten was a woman?); these are just from the west; this doesn’t count women elsewhere who are trafficked and raped from birth instead of being allowed to explore their potential in the sciences. here’s a list of indian women overshadowed in the sciences. if women’s potential in the sciences were fulfilled and nurtured and credit duly given then it would probably change the world as we know it overnight.
Of course! Theology was a major area of philosophical study, and from what I read, she was very knowledgeable And any woman who survives three assassination attempts (iirc? I know there was more than just the one) is p badass. Also women have always had a place in the sciences. We were the first computer programmers, telephone technicians and medical professionals (rural women figured out how to prevent smallpox hundreds of years before Germ Theory or the concept of inoculation was a thing). Haven’t died of smallpox recently? You’re welcome. <3
You ladies are amazing! All this history, our history off the top of your head!
Thank you both, this is exactly what I was trying to convey to this ignorant dudebro. Who has yet to respond, btw.
From Ada Lovelace to Grace Hopper, computers owe everything to women. All six “human computers” working on the famous ENIAC machine were women, and isn’t it funny how people nowadays have some sort of idea of what ENIAC was but not who maintained it? In fact, computer programming, especially software programming, used to be considered a woman’s job. They were still paid less than the men who were also in the field. But they still did it better.
The first person to crack part of the German Enigma cypher was a woman we only know today as Mrs BB. Her solution was dismissed as being too simplistic, though she turned out to be correct. But we still don’t know her name. She worked at Bletchley Park, home of the UK’s cryptographers before and during WWII – most of the people working there were women (I’ve seen it as high as estimating 80% women). One of them, Mavis Batey, died a couple weeks ago, in fact. She decoded the Italian navy Enigma cypher – AT NINETEEN.
Also, to throw in some of my other favorite ladies that I don’t see listed so far: Simone de Beauvoir, Émilie du Châtelet, Princess Elisabeth of the Palantine, Sofia Vasilyevna Kovalevskaya, Emmy Noether… I could go on and on. All sorts of brilliant ladies who directly influenced men we cherry pick from history (Voltaire, Sartre, etc.) or whose accomplishments we’ve forgotten despite their value have existed throughout time, everywhere and every place.
Oh look, more erased women who built civilization as we know it! What would women do without men to steal our discoveries and take credit for them? IDK thrive, probably
Here’s a resource for what you needa try to get done before January when Trump starts changing shit and how to get that shit done. It includes things like name changes for Trans folks and healthcare resources. It might be helpful for someone even if it’s not helpful to you so please pass it on. Help marginalized people stay healthy and safe!
IF YOU’RE A CISHET WHITE YOU NEED TO BE REBLOGGING THIS SHIT SO MARGINALIZED LGBTQ+ POC KNOW THEIR OPTIONS. THIS IS HELPFUL FOR YALL ASSES TOO!!!
The doc has moved to a wiki here. It has a lot of useful information already and it will be added to over time.