Progressive State Income Tax for Washington State




Eric Paulsen


       The purpose of this paper is to assemble an argument in support of Washington State adopting a progressive state income tax.

What is the problem that you are trying to solve?

        I am a math teacher with 9 years of math teaching experience at Tacoma Schools in Washington State.  I taught math for Tacoma from 1990 to 1999.  As the result of graduate study at the University of Washington 2000 - 2001, and as the result of my teaching experience today I am an advocate for better funding for all K-12 schools in Washington State.  After the failure of I-1098 in 2010, I began to do some research on the subject of the Washington State tax system itself.  Today I support Legislative action that would lead to passage of a bill that supports a progressive state income tax. 

         There are many indicators that point to the need for increased funding for Washington State's K-12 public school classrooms. One such is the student's scores on standardized tests.








         Another good indicator of the need for better funding for Washington State can be found in a report published by the Washington State Treasurer's Office.   Each year the Washington State Treasurer publishes a “Debt Affordability Study.” This year’s study says that "At the end of 2016, Washington's debt portfolio stood at $20.6 billion." The same State that is home to Costco, Microsoft, Amazon, PACCAR,  Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Weyerhaeuser is deeply in debt.







What is the proposed solution?

       The focus of this paper is to advocate for change in Washington State: Specifically that the Legislature agree to support adoption of a progressive income tax in Washington State.  All of individuals, families, businesses, and corporations would participate in helping the Washington State Government by supporting passage of a progressive state income tax.

         "A progressive tax is a tax where the tax rate increases as your income increases.  The United States currently has a progressive income tax that requires higher income citizens to pay a larger percentage of their income in taxes. Taxpayers are divided into categories based on income levels." (1)

       If individuals, families, and corporations worked together to achieve this change in how the State obtains revenue, they could at the same time deduct the amount that they pay in State income taxes, from their taxable income when calculating Federal Income taxes. (2)

In November of 2002, the Washington State Tax Structure Study Committee met and completed a thorough study of the Washington State Tax system. This report can be found on the internet today.  


Appendix H of this report contains the Committee's recommendations. 


        Please share the web address, with anyone you wish.  If you have any questions or comments try to share them to my e-mail,



         (1)   Definition, "Progressive income tax, Pros and Cons,"

        (2)   "Tax Alternatives for Washington State, A Report to the Legislature,"

        (3)  Topic 503, Deductible Taxes,






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