Isn't it weird that ... State Rep. Larry Haler (R-8, Richland), who proposed a bill to impose uniform business and occupation tax rates—going, pointedly, with the preferential Boeing rate, .002904, vs. the current twelve different B&O rates for different business classifications—explained his rationale at a hearing of the house finance committee yesterday, saying: "Why can't we have the same deal Boeing has? ... I know that some you would like to get at some of the farm businesses on the east side of the state because you think they are wealthy. They are not."

The problem is: Haler's proposal would actually end up doubling the rate on farm product companies?

First of all, farmers are exempt from B&O taxes—how's that for a Boeing rate?—and Haler's supposedly equalizing proposal wouldn't touch the special treatment the ag industry receives.

But more importantly, farm products companies—dairy products, wheat products, canola—currently pay a .0013 B&O tax rate while Haler's proposal would bump them up to the .002904 Boeing rate.

Watch Haler's clumsy performance in front of the committee (go to the 20-minute mark), where even a member of his own party, Rep. Cary Condotta (R-12, East Wenatchee), challenges him on another blooper in his proposal: the devastating fiscal implications of his flat tax—a $4.2 billion hit to the state in the next biennium. (That's an especially big hit given the state supreme court's decision in the McCleary case, which instructed the state to increase its K-12 commitment by $3.3 billion.)

And here's the clip of house finance chair Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Queen Anne) explicitly pointing out Haler's goof-up of actually increasing rates on farm companies.

Watch Haler remain oblivious: 


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