As of this morning, I have officially been blogging for 10 years. The first entry wonders if I will keep doing it (that has now been answered). The second entry--posted an hour or so after the first--has this to say: Props to My Brother for helping me sort out the mysteries of html tags. If you run across a tank of ether, send it to him for me.
To the best of my knowledge, none of you ever ran across a tank of ether. What good are you? Well, nevermind. Onwards into The Future! Where I hope you are less useless!
Lately there has been a lot of frustration (and occasional fury) around my house, thanks to the ongoing desire to pay income tax. Weird, right? Currently, Seattle's sales tax nudges up to nearly 10% on everything but food; it's substantially more for booze, smokes and hotels, while being nonexistent on Little Debbie snacks and soda. Our car tabs are so low that southend bus service is getting cut, again, and because our property value has dropped, our property sales tax is the smallest it's been in years. Every few months, the state, county and city all revise their budgets to spend even less on crucial services. A handful of zillionaires tried to get the state to charge them income tax; a different handful of zillionaires successfully fought off that idea. I really believe--and this is being demonstrated every day now--that tax-and-spend government systems work pretty well. While we're not being shown this daily, I believe that the tax part should mean that the richer you are, the higher percentage of your income you pay, and the poorer you are, the less you need to contribute to the state treasury.
Usually at the Sweetie-Boom house, I'm the more furious of the two resident humans. The tax inequalities and the refusal of suburbanites to pay a more equitable share has driven Sweetie to hardcore bitterness. He's come around to the idea that smaller communities should get what they pay for. King County adds far more money to the state budget than other areas--but our funds typically go to pay for schools and roads and government in rural counties, where voters routinely shoot down attempts at tax increases. In other words, the liberal tax-and-spend urban residents are funding the infrastructure for people who are acting against our own best interests. He's right, this is dumb--but it's not a particularly nice way of thinking. And when he's talked about it to folks other than myself, people seem to take it as rather mean-spirited, when we should all be in this together, and won't someone think of the children, and so on.
I realized today that I am happy to pay a share for people who can't financially contribute to the state's income; the poorest counties are the responsibility of all, to make sure our broke-ass farmers and fishermen and non-casino-having Native Americans and unemployed lumberjacks and laid-off millworkers don't starve, and to help their kids get through high school at least. But I am not happy to pay a share for people who won't contribute fairly (like the border-dwellers who skip down to Oregon to buy everything they own, tax-free), and I am really not happy to pay a share for people who not only won't contribute fairly but who continually insist they're already paying more than their fair share and vote against any sort of changes that would results in something a little closer to a 1:1 ratio for dollars contributed to the state treasury and dollars received from the state.
I wish Washington had more candidates for office that were running on tax reform platforms. For now, there isn't really anything that can be done about it except to fund Seattle-centric charitable organizations, and to make this point to every non-King County resident I meet.