Progressive State Income Tax
for Washington State



Eric Paulsen

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

Who are you and what is Transition 2030?

       I am a math teacher with a Bachelor of Science degree in math from the University of Washington.  I was able to teach for Tacoma Schools from 1990 to 1998. I had assignments teaching math and Apple computer education. I have a Continuing Washington State Teacher’s certificate, which needs to be renewed.

       In 1999 I started work on a master’s degree at the University of Washington and completed 41 credits towards a Masters degree by 2001.  During that masters study I began a research project that I call Transition 2030 today.  

What are the problems that this Introduction introduces?

Washington State has one of the most Regressive Tax systems in the nation.  The following summary was published by the Seattle Post Intelligencer.  


         The same State that is home to Costco, Microsoft, Amazon, PACCAR, Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Weyerhaeuser is deeply in debt.  Each year the Washington State Treasurer publishes a “Debt Affordability Study.” This year’s study contains the following graph, which illustrates this growing debt.


         Another approach to viewing the budget that the Washington State Legislature must agree upon each time that they meet, would be to look at funding for Education.   Specifically by looking at the growth in tuition at Washington State University and at the University of Washington.



         Over the past 17 years, tuition has risen considerably at both WSU and the University of Washington.

What are the proposed solutions?

       The focus of this paper is to advocate for change in Washington State: Specifically that the Legislature agree to support adoption of a New Bill in Olympia for a progressive income tax in Washington State.  All of individuals, families, businesses, and corporations would participate.

       “Forty-three states and many localities in the United States impose an income tax on individuals. Forty-seven states and many localities impose a tax on the income of corporations.” (1) The Washington State Treasurer’s Office publishes a report each December.  This year’s Debt Affordability Study says the State of Washington is still over $20 billion in debt.  It does not have a surplus, or reserve account. (2)

         In November of 2002 the Washington State Tax Structure Study Committee completed a report on the tax system itself of Washington State. The recommendations of the Committee can be found in Appendix H of this report. (3) This Committee had a very large and important Advisory Group that included Boeing and Microsoft. This Committee recommended a graduated (progressive) state income tax.  The chair of this Committee was William Gates Sr. 





What would you consider to be positive outcomes?

         Many current State Corporate and Personal income taxes would be replaced with a Progressive State income tax. All State Funded programs would have adequate funding. The Paramount Duty to adequately fund Education would be met.

What is the request of this Introduction?

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

                                                           Eric Paulsen