Sales-tax Deduction Fuels Washington State’s Local Economy

Renew the sales-tax deduction

The Seattle Times

Editorial by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers
April 15, 2015

THE Evergreen State’s pioneering spirit fuels our willingness to explore the unknown — to invent, to create and to grow our local economy from the bottom up.

Home to the first modern airliner, the largest e-commerce site in the country and the most widely recognized coffee company across the globe, our innovation has led us boldly into the 21st century. With Tax Day just around the corner, it is critical we embrace that spirit and prevent middle-class families from Seattle to Spokane from being unfairly disadvantaged by the federal tax code. That’s why I am working across the aisle in Congress to establish a tax code that empowers people and propels Washington state as a leader in our innovation economy.

Our tax code is complicated enough, and we should be taking steps to simplify and streamline it however we can — and that includes giving men and women assurance that they can deduct local and state sales taxes come April 15th. Today, roughly 20 percent of Americans live in states that do not have an income tax. But states like ours have opted for a significant sales tax to pay for important government services. In consideration of hardworking taxpayers in states like Washington, Congress has enabled this deduction in lieu of claiming a state income-tax deduction. In 2012, 27 percent of tax filers in Washington state claimed the sales-tax deduction, saving Washingtonians more than $2 billion, fueling our local economy and putting hard-earned income back in taxpayers’ pockets.

However, unfortunately, this important deduction expired at the end of tax year 2014.

That is why in November I joined 60 of my colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, encouraging its leaders to swiftly renew the sales-tax deduction. Middle-class families should not be penalized for Washington state’s preferred tax structure, and we need to make sure our taxpayers have the certainty they need to claim a deduction of local and state sales taxes.

This year, as a part of America’s New Congress, we’ve worked across the aisle to make this deduction permanent. We’ve worked to get results for the American people, and I am excited that this week we will take up legislation on the House floor that would finally make state and local sales-tax deductions a permanent part of our federal tax code.

America is the land of opportunity, and we need to empower people — through the tax code — to succeed in their homes, classrooms and communities. We need to foster an economic climate supportive of creating opportunities that keep up with our vibrant 21st-century workforce. By making this deduction permanent, more families would be able to utilize it and be empowered to succeed.

This week’s important vote could permanently ensure every taxpayer in Washington state access to state and local sales-tax deductions, protecting them from paying for more than their fair share of the federal tax burden.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, represents the 5th Congressional District.

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