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Proposed tax transparency website is just ‘common sense’

LISTEN: Proposed tax transparency website is just 'common sense'

A new bill was recently introduced in the Senate that would establish a tax transparency website, a place where people could go to look up what government authority is taxing them, and how much.

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“One of the questions we often get is, how much am I paying in taxes?” Jason Mercier, the Director for the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center, told Greg Tomlin on the Dori Monson Show. “How much in sales tax? How much in property tax? How much in excise taxes? And the reason I keep getting asked that question is there are a lot of different taxing districts in the State of Washington. In fact, there are 1,800 different taxing districts, different authorities that are allowed to impose taxes on us.”

According to Mercier, a single business or home could be located in as many as 10 different taxing districts.

The proposed website would be based on Washington’s current budget site, which breaks down how the state spends its money.

“That’s great on the spending side. We need to have access on the tax side,” Mercier said. “It’s just really common sense.”

Users of the site would be able to type in their home or business address into a searchable database.

“It would show you all the taxing districts you’re subject to, at what rate. It would provide an online calculator just for educational purposes,” Mercier explained. “One of the benefits of that is it would allow some tax competition.”

“Let’s say I want to see how much my tax burden would change if I moved over here or if I located my business here,” he said.

Senate Bill 6590 has bipartisan support, Mercier said. It was introduced by Republican Senator Joe Fain and Democratic Senator Guy Palumbo.

“The only reason why you may not see a move is it’s a little bit late in session right now. We’re hitting some cut-offs, but we’re still hopeful that we’ll get a hearing, and hopefully get this thing implemented.”

If the bill does eventually pass, the tax transparency website could go into effect in January 2019.

Listen to the full interview with Jason Mercier on the Dori Monson Show here.

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