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Justin Steyer / KPLU

Editor's Note: We're taking a closer look at Washington's tax system through a week-long series. This is the fourth installment of “Where’s the Dough? On the Hunt for Washington’s Missing Tax Dollars." The first installment explored the history of the state's tax system, and the second story took a closer look at the efficacy of tax exemptions. The third piece looked at the tax incentives Washington approved for Boeing, and the fourth story examined tax breaks for consumers.

If you’re poor and you live in Washington state, you wind up forking over almost 17 percent of your income in state and local taxes. That’s according to a recent report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

But if you live in, say, Boise or Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, state and local taxes only eat up 8.5 percent of your income.

The reason boils down to how the two states collect revenue. Washington relies heavily on a sales tax, along with property tax and a gross receipts tax on business called the business and occupation tax. All of that means low-income people shoulder a much bigger tax burden as a percentage of their income than the richest 1 percent. And that earns Washington the dubious distinction of having the most unfair state and local tax system in the country, according to ITEP.

Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

The Seahawks are staying busy in the offseason. They continue to enhance their roster. And they learned this week that they'll get even more opportunities to do that during next month's draft.

But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the biggest question about the Seahawks next season has yet to be answered.

Joe Wolf / Flickr

Eleventh graders at Seattle's Nathan Hale High School will take a state- and federally-required standardized test after all, an apparent reversal of an earlier decision by staff, students and parents to boycott the exams this year.

"The [Smarter Balanced assessment] is required by the state. Therefore, to comply with Seattle Public Schools directives, students will be tested" in April, Nathan Hale Senate chair Melinda Greene said in an email to parents Thursday.

Jake Schultz

If you ever drive through Seattle-area traffic, you may have had some version of this thought: “I wish my car had wings right now.”

The flying car is a symbol of mid-century optimism about the future, and it seemed almost inevitable at the time that, sooner or later, we’d have them. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. But we actually came a lot closer to getting them than you might think, thanks to a Washington man named Molton Taylor and his Aerocar.

Washington State Department Of Transportation

The section of I-5 running through Tacoma is getting a major makeover. H-O-V lanes and new northbound lanes are being built to ease bottlenecks and congestion.

 

To make the highway wider, two overpass bridges connecting East Tacoma with downtown will be demolished and rebuilt. The Pacific Avenue Overpass will be torn down in about two weeks.

 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Washington State’s insurance commissioner has opened up a multi-state investigation into Washington’s largest insurance carrier, Premera Blue Cross, after a data breach left 11 million customers’ private information exposed to hackers.

Premera says it found out about the hack on January 29, and the company disclosed it publicly on March 17. So the first thing Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler wants to know is, what took so long?

“Why did it take six weeks before you notified the primary regulator? I want to know why we didn’t know earlier, so that we can make sure that everything that can be done is being done to protect the consumer’s interest,” Kreidler said in an interview.

Elaine Thompson / AP

One of the biggest challenges Seattle faces is its transportation systems. The city is launching a series of talks at the library about the future of mobility. The aim is to get the public thinking about urban design as the population grows. 

Nancy Leson

Lucky Nancy.  The other day a friend of her son's showed up at her door bearing a dozen razor clams fresh from Ocean Shores.   That's some massive clammage but Nancy knew what to do with them.

AP

A Washington State House committee will hear a bill requiring student scores on statewide standardized tests to play a role in teachers' evaluations next week, a member of the committee said Tuesday.

But the proposal from Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, aimed at getting back the state's waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law, has gotten a chilly reception among House lawmakers — and the bill's supporters fear they're running out of time.

Pike Place Market

A major addition is coming to the Pike Place Market. The $65 million dollar project includes a pedestrian connection to the waterfront. Monday, the Seattle City Council approved selling $34 million in bonds to help pay for it.

John Mummert / USGA

Pierce County will step onto the national stage when it hosts one of the country’s premiere sporting events. In June, the U.S.Open golf championship will be held at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place.

It will be the first time in the event’s history that it will take place in the Pacific Northwest. The first ever U.S. Open was held in 1895.

Recently KPLU presented yet another excellent Puget Sound area high-school jazz band in a live studio session.  This time around it was the Mt. Si High School Jazz Combo from the Snoqualmie Valley School District.  

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Editor's Note: We're taking a closer look at Washington's tax system through a week-long series. This is the second installment of “Where’s the Dough? On the Hunt for Washington’s Missing Tax Dollars." Our first installment explored the history of the state's tax system.  

When she was in the legislature, the giant wooden table in Marilyn Rasmussen's kitchen — the one with the lazy susan big enough to comfortably serve the seven kids she raised here — used to swarm with farmers wanting to talk shop.

"This table always had people around it, always talking about ideas. 'What are our problems? How can we solve 'em?'" the former lawmaker, 76, remembered as she warmed her hand over a hot cup of coffee. "Farmers are really good at solving issues."

There’s a lottery being held in Seattle. But, this one isn’t about winning big bucks. It’s about a chance at affordable housing.

The lottery is being run by the Seattle Housing Authority for slots on a wait list for the Section 8 voucher program.

Seattle Daily Times

Editor's Note: We're taking a closer look at Washington's tax system through a week-long series. This is the first installment of “Where’s the Dough? On the Hunt for Washington’s Missing Tax Dollars."

Washington state’s tax system has long been heaped with insults. Lately, it’s been called a jalopy, a Ford Pinto and the worst in the country.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, says Washington's tax system is the most regressive in the nation. That’s because with our state’s heavy reliance on sales tax and lack of an income tax, the poorest 20 percent of residents pay 16.8 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while the richest pay 2.4 percent.

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