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On Other Blogs Today: Tax Breaks, School Lunches, SPD Discipline, and More
Our daily roundup.
1. The supplemental budget proposed yesterday by the Republican-dominated state senate adds $96 million in spending over the next biennium, thanks to a better-than-anticipated revenue forecast; that number includes about $40 million to help meet the McCleary mandate to fund basic education.
But, KUOW reports, the budget also includes nearly two dozen new or extended tax breaks, contrary to Gov. Jay Inslee's push to eliminate tax loopholes to help pay for K-12 education.
The tax breaks, KUOW reports, would benefit beekeepers, companies that hire unemployed veterans, alcohol resellers, log haulers, and tech and energy companies, among others.
(Sound familiar? The adding in tax breaks is a replay of exactly what the Republicans did at the end of budget negotiations last year).
2. Speaking of taxes: On his council blog, city council member Tim Burgess breaks down the numbers from a recent report by the government of Washington, D.C., which does an annual ranking of individual and family tax burdens in the most populous cities in every state.
Overall, the latest report concluded, Seattle ranks 45th out of 51 states and D.C. in terms of how much we pay in taxes—in other words, the tax burden of individuals and families in Seattle is lower than in all but six other states.
However, when it comes to tax burdens by income, the numbers confirm that Seattle's tax structure is incredibly regressive: Relative to income, the tax burden for a family of three making $25,000 (13 percent) is nearly double that paid by a family of three making $150,000 (6.6 percent). The main reason for the disparity is Washington state's regressive tax structure—the state relies heavily on sales tax, which costs the poor more as a percentage of their income than the rich, and has no income tax, which is a progressive tax (the more you make, the higher your tax rate).
3. The Seattle Times has more details about six cases in which interim SPD chief Harry Bailey reversed findings of misconduct against officers; they include a case in which an officer lost a baggie of cocaine she had secured under her car; a case in which a sergeant failed to arrest a domestic violence suspect, forcing the victim, who had cancer, to sleep in her car; and a case where an officer received a five-day suspension for sexually harassing multiple colleagues.
Council public safety committee chair Bruce Harrell is holding a special meeting tomorrow at 2:00 to discuss SPD's disciplinary review process, which several council members have criticized as open-ended and byzantine.
5. And in national news that will reverberate in Seattle, FLOTUS Michelle Obama has announced that, as part of her Let's Move! campaign, schools where 40 percent or more children are eligible for reduced-price meals will be able to serve free breakfasts and free lunches to every student in the school.
Marion Nestle at Food Politics reports that the changes will actually save money, because they'll mean an end to USDA paperwork requirements, school monitoring of parents' payments, schools destroying meals of kids whose families haven't paid or turning them away hungry; and students knowing who gets free meals.
It almost—almost—makes up for the First Lady's enthusiastic endorsement of the eating-disorder-promoting "reality" show "The Biggest Loser" and her campaign to promote soda companies' sales of bottled water.