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Eye On Olympia

As Olympia considers taxes, former candidate has a new idea to raise billions for schools: repeal a 12-year-old tax break…

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

David Spring, a teacher and former legislative candidate, is trying to convince lawmakers to embrace a tax plan that he says would add billions of dollars for schools and state services while touching only the wealthiest 5 percent of Washingtonians.

"We don't need to be raising the sales tax. We don't even need an income tax," he said. "We just need to close this tax loophole."

Spring, 58, wants to repeal a 1997 state tax exemption for intangible property, saying that accountants are increasingly categorizing things as intangibles, shortchanging the state coffers. He's trying to convince lawmakers to do away with part of the tax break. He estimates that it would raise $2 billion to $4 billion a year. He's calling for most of that money to go to schools.

Under Spring's plan, intangible property (things like stocks, bonds and cash) would be subject to a 1 percent tax. Any retirement funds would be exempt, as would the first $100,000 in personal intangible property per person.

"It is morally wrong to place tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires above the interests of our schoolchildren," he said, adding that 95 out of 100 state residents would be untouched by the tax.

Some lawmakers are reportedly interested, and Spring's apparently been making the rounds for weeks, talking with numerous legislators, a staffer for the governor and people from unions and other groups. So far, no one's introduced a bill.

The matter should go to voters, Spring says, as a referendum from the legislature. Even if lawmakers take a pass on the idea, he's hoping to put it on the ballot in November.

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