Don Burrows



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The book is divided into three parts. Part I contains five chapters. Chapters 1 and 4 provide a description, comparison and evaluation of Washington’s current tax structure. Chapter 2 provides a description, history and evaluation to the state’s three most important taxes: property, sales and B&O. Chapter 3 describes the roles played by the “tax policy makers” (i.e., citizens, governors, legislators, other public officials, businesses, labor groups, and numerous other interest group) in bringing about those changes. Chapter 5 includes a discussion and an analysis of contentious tax issues of concern to citizens, public officials and interest groups alike. Most individuals do not like taxes and they are not bashful in expressing their opinions. Quite often, their opinions are based on misinformation, confusion and/or a lack of understanding. Chapter 5 is an important part of the book, as it provides the information needed to evaluate the tax issues on an objective basis.

Part II, chapters 6-20, describe how and why the changes in Washington’s tax structure came about during the state’s 123-year history and 96 legislative sessions. The underlying causes, choices, and challenges of the time are described, including a discussion of the state’s economic and tax revenue problems faced by each of the state’s governors and legislatures.11 Part III, Chapter 21, contains a summary of the book’s findings and conclusions. It also provides a discussion of impending future tax problems and includes suggestions for improving the efficiency, adequacy and the fairness of the tax structure.

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Washington State, tax, history, property tax, B&O tax, retail sales tax


State and Local Government Law | Taxation-State and Local

The Economics and Politics of Washington's Taxes: From Statehood to 2013