34 Replies to “ST2 Sales Tax Hike Takes Effect”

  1. Are we ever going to pay off the damn stadiums and get a decrease in our sales taxes? The taxes here in Seattle are getting to be a little burdensome.

  2. According to Q13 this morning South Snohomish County, the part affected by the increased ST take now leads the State at 9.5% However, it already was 9% in Bellevue so I think we’ve at least got them tied.

    According to speedtax.com (this is pre ST increase):

    Washington State Sales Tax Rates

    Washington has a 6.5% statewide sales tax. As of 31st October 2007, sales tax is not applied on most food items and prescription medications (not including over-the-counter medications). Individual counties, municipalities and regional transit authorities are entitled to collect a sales tax, which vary from 0.5% to 2.5%. Within King County, the King County Food & Beverage (KCF&B) tax adds an additional .5% to food and beverages purchased in bars, taverns and restaurants resulting in an effective tax rate of 9.5% (9.0% on all other items). Additionally, the sale or lease of motor vehicles for use on the road incur an additional 0.3% tax, rental of a car for less than 30 days has an additional state/local tax of 8.9%. When renting a car for less than 30 days in Seattle, the total sales tax is 18.6%.

    When staying at hotel (60+ rooms capacity) in Seattle, the sales tax is 15.6%

    The lowest sales tax in Washington is 7.0% in most of Klickitat and Skamania Counties, while the highest sales tax in Washington is the aforementioned 9.5% tax on prepared food and beverages in King County.

  3. The “bright” side is Washington doesn’t have a state income tax. This is why the state sales and property taxes are so high. I’d personally be for a state income tax and a lowering of the state property and sales tax rates. I’d also apply the sale tax to services. Furthermore I think we need a corporate income tax so we can get rid of the screwy B&O tax.

    1. Please no state income tax. I barley get by with my pitiful salary as it is. I’d be in favor of more sales tax to get rid of property taxes though. I do not own any property but, I consider the fact that people have to bribe the goverment to keep the land they own is just wrong.

      1. It’s likely, if you’ve got a pitiful salary, that you’d do a lot better with income tax than sales tax.

      2. Just wait. They will start out with just the top earners. Soon they will need more money. They will use that as an excuse to expand it to all of us. As for the sales tax. I get to make the decision of what I buy and where I buy it. I avoid buying things with a tax on it in Seattle. Seattle gets 2/3 of my taxes that are collected by King County. I live in the south end. I would like to see more of my money stay local.

        Also as I’ve said before just because something is to my benefit does not make it right.

      3. You used an appeal to self-interest in your initial comment, so it follows to correct that your self-interest was misguided.

        Do you have a source for that 2/3 to Seattle claim? That is almost certainly wrong.

      4. Well, I confess that I do not like the idea of taxing income. I think everyone should keep 100% of what they make and taxes should be impact base. The greater your impact on goverment the more you pay. I know that may not be possiable it is just how i’d like to see it.

      5. Here’s the problem. Taxes exist – we’re paying for public services.

        You can either do it through sales taxes, that really DO punish lower earners, or you can make it proportional to ability to pay. Granted, I think nobody’s yet come up with a process to make the conversion tenable in this state, so don’t panic. :)

      6. I don’t have the numbers for the rest of county services, but as far as metro goes there is only a slight subsidy from the rest of the county to service hours in Seattle.

        For a majority of the county services Seattle uses, the county bills the city directly (sewer, jail, courts). For other county services the city provides its own services (police, fire, roads, parks, libraries, etc.).

        Remember that a large portion of both the sales tax base and property tax base of King County is in Seattle, most of the rest is on the Eastside (Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Issahquah).

      7. I know that Seattle contributes the most to the county. They also keep most that is not what upsets me. I live in Des Moines, the county taxes that are collected where I live almost none goes to benefit Des Moines. Two-Thirds go to benefit Seattle. The time has come to split King County.

      8. What’s the source for that number? How do you know that “almost none” goes to Des Moines?

      9. I know that 2/3 of taxes in des moines go to seattle. the rest is divided among the rest of the county. I do not know what percent of the last third des moines gets. I would not mind if the 2/3 went into unincorperated king county. Thae are supposed to be the first priority of county goverment.

      10. Simply repeating a questionable claim does not make it true. Why should Seattleites like me subsidize extra Metro bus service to South King County while we have more need and demand but are artificially capped on how much added service we can get?

      11. That is why I think it is time to split King County. I believe th County Goverment is to Seattle centered. You may disagree but this is my opinion. Let Seattle be its own county, the eastside be its own county, the rural be its own county and the south end be its own county. This will not happed because It would mean a loss of power for the County Goverment.

      12. Where do you get your data that 2/3 of the taxes you pay in Des Moines go to Seattle? If anything taxes from Seattle and Bellevue are subsidizing the rest of the County. (See property values and sale tax collections if you don’t believe me).

        Certainly that is the case on the state level. King County pays far more taxes to the state than it gets back in state services.

      13. If you own a nice car you insure it right? Property owners have a big stake in what happens be it law enforcement, economic development or infrastructure to harvest and distribute crops. Property taxes (I pay a “fair” deal) directly benefit the owner. It most certainly is not a bribe to keep the land we own. I expect a great deal for what I pay. For the most part the “return on investment” is pretty good… That said, it could be a LOT better.

      14. If you cannot pay the goverment will take your land. It almost happened to a family member. We all chipped in and paid what was owed that she did not have.

      15. The solution to that would be progressive property taxes. Montreal does that (I’m sure many other places too, but that’s the one I know for sure), and it works well. Dow Constantine told me the state constitution forbids progressive property taxes, though as with the income tax, I’m decreasingly sure that’s true.

      16. Even though I hate the concept, I’d rather have an income tax that property taxes. I know I do not pay them. I really think this is the most unjust form of taxation we use. I’ve seen abuses in how there assesed. (My parents were told they would have to pay more in taxes because a survey of there property showed that it was worth more. The problem is that you cannot get to a small piece of land they own without crossing through there backyard. My father asked when they did it. They insited that they did it by looking from the a view area. The problem is that this is imposssiable. They either tresspassed, because they were not home when the survey took place. They admited this. Or they did not do the survey properly.)

      17. You may not pay property taxes directly, but if you rent your home like I do, you’re still paying them indirectly in your rent. The only way you’re really paying no property taxes is if you’re living rent-free.

        There’s a reasonable need for property taxes, but progressive income taxes are the fairest tax there is.

      18. The fairset tax would be everyone who makes an income to pay 20% of there income. 10% to Federal 10% state and local. That is the fairest. If God only asks for 10% why should the goverment ask for more. Yes, I mean everyone who makes an income. My pastor makes less that 20,000 a year and he pays taxes and gets a more in his refund than he pays in taxes. How fair tis that.

      19. Depends on your definition of “fair”. I suspect your pastor has trouble buying food on that 20k a year. I doubt Gates or Allen would.

      20. My Pastor is proof that it is not amount that matters but priorities. He lives in a house that is paid for. He has 5 kids with another one on the way. They never go hungary. Their house is the place where all the neighborhood kids want to play. They make priorities. It is amazing how much you save when you have no cable or satalite to pay for. When you do not spend money on video games, at least not the expensive systems. He would survive if he did not get the Earned Income Tax credit. How? Putting what is really important first. We have frogeten this fact. We spend like there is no tomorrow and complain about the debt when tomorrow comes. I wish my Pastor was the rule and not the exception. I wish Giverment would follow his example.

  4. I moved here from the San Francisco bay area. They currently have a 9.5% sales tax and a fairly high income tax (ranges from 1% to 9.5% based on income bracket).

    1. You get what you pay for to some extent. The state services are much better, the universities are nearly all as good as the UW and the roads and transit are way better.

      1. I’m confused (nothing new). Are you saying WA State services are much better than CA or vice versa? Are you saying all the CA state schools are as good as UW or all the WA schools are “nearly” as good as UW? What roads and transit are way better?

      2. California has many more services, including paid leave for new mothers and fathers, better unemployment benefits, free health care for kids, etc.

        When I worked at eBay in San Jose, I rode a train partly paid for by the state to work each day (Caltrain) try to find one like that around here. On the other side of the bay was a similar commuter train (Amtrak capitol corridor) and the roads were also far better: I-280 and US 101 were both drive-home options, and there were many more freeways around the area.

        According to these guys: http://www.arwu.org/ Berkeley (my alma mater) is the third best university on earth, with UCLA and UCSD both also ahead of the UW. Eight of the ten UCs are in the world’s 100 best (only Santa Cruz and the brand new Merced didn’t make the list) along with Stanford (#2 on the list), Cal Tech and USC. No Washington college made the list other than UW.

        The Cal State System has an enrollment of over 400,000 students, ensuring opportunities for a college education to kids who cannot afford or cannot get accepted into the UC System.

        California does have its share of problems (prisons are a huge glaring example, public schools suck in parts of the state) but its still the most shining beacon of American prosperity, especially to immigrants. California by itself accepts more immigrants than the rest of the United States put together.

      3. California had the best public education system in the country until voters passed Prop. 13 in 1978 (harshly limiting property tax increases). Since then, it’s floundered.

  5. Alas – the sales tax I paid on April 1 was the exact same sales tax I paid on March 31 (for the identical items) in Seattle.

    On one item – I was expecting to pay an additional two cents.

    The other item I bought should have been a penny higher.

    1. Yeah, I tried the QFC down the street last night a bit after midnight. They hadn’t adjusted yet either.

      They’re probably waiting until the weekend. They’re still responsible for the amounts on those receipts, they’re just not collecting it from you.

      1. QFC is slow to program new things into their registers. I was going to check to see if they’d added the 62 cent federal cigarette tax too. Metro tickets and passes are different as the retailer has to pay for them upfront.

  6. The solution is obvious: live and work in Washington, but shop in Oregon, thus avoiding both state income tax and sales taxes. Yes, this is unlawful, but the laws against it are pretty much unenforcible. I believe the Safeway at the south end of the I-5 bridge is still the highest grossing Safeway in the world; that can’t be just because Oregonians have a hankering to drive to within 100 feet of the Washington border just to go shopping…

    Solution #2: Get an Oregon driver’s license. If you show it for any purchase not consumed in Washington, you can avoid paying sales taxes. (Sorry, this doesn’t work for restaurants, hotels, or services.)

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