Munson and Moscoso are critical of Washington tax system/ Election
September 29, 2010 · 11:32 AM
Bothell Republican Heidi Munson admitted she was “pleasantly surprised” at her relatively strong showing in the August primary.
Munson and Mountlake Terrace Democrat Luis Moscoso are trying to replace outgoing State Rep. Mark Ericks, D-Snohomish.
A former Bothell police chief, Ericks is slated to return to law enforcement as head of the U.S. Marshall Service for the Western District of Washington.
In the primary leading up to the current general election, combining results from King and Snohomish counties, Munson took in a tad shy of half the votes cast, earning 49.9 percent of the ballots. That figure was well ahead of Moscoso’s 26.8 percent. Still, Moscoso insisted he’s not worried.
According to Moscoso, Republican candidates usually earn about 45 percent of the votes in the district. Moscoso also argued he and third-place primary finisher Dave Griffin split the Democratic vote, but together earned more than 50 percent of the ballots. Perhaps most notably from his point of view, Moscoso argued that Munson is out of step with mainstream Republicans.
“I don’t think she’s a typical Republican at all,” Moscoso said, playing up what he said are Munson’s ties to the extremely conservative Tea Party movement.
“I think there’s a definite disconnect between her and the rest of the Republican Party,” he added, though Moscoso also said that in talking with voters, he hasn’t taken to bashing Munson’s ideology, preferring to concentrate on local issues.
For her part, Munson describes her views as “very conservative.” On taxes and the economy, which she described as far and away the top issues among voters, Munson takes issue with what she describes as Olympia’s tax and spend habits.
“We don’t have a revenue problem,” she said. “We have a spending problem... We could turn this economy around real fast if government would just stop punishing businesses.”
According to Munson, Washington businesses have no incentive to expand or create new jobs. One main culprit is, she believes, the state’s business and occupation (B&O) tax imposed on the gross income of businesses. Munson said at a minimum, the B&O tax needs to be switched to taxing a company’s net, not its gross, and also needs to be reduced. According to Munson, study after study shows that if businesses have money to invest, jobs and revenues grow.
If he takes a different tact, Moscoso is just as critical of Washington’s tax system, if not more so.
“We do have the worst tax system in the country,” he said. “That’s pretty much an established fact.”
Moscoso said he largely agrees with various studies that the state’s reliance on sales taxes makes its tax system one of the most regressive around. Basically, the argument goes, that the poorest of Washington’s populations pay the highest percentage of their incomes in taxes.
Like Munson, Moscoso is not a fan of the B&O tax. Unlike Munson, Moscoso does not dismiss Initiative 1098, which backers say would impose Washington’s first state income tax on the wealthiest of residents while cutting property taxes and eliminating the B&O tax for most small businesses.
“But it’s not an answer in and of itself,” Moscoso added, regarding 1098. He also has said now is not the time to raise taxes. But he believes now is the time for a revamping of the state’s entire tax structure. Moscoso said as the economy inevitably recovers, he would like to see a more efficient and equitable tax system in place.
Hitting on other themes, Munson talked about what she sees as the evident dishonesty in Olympia.
“People feel very frustrated and very disenfranchised,” she said.
She argued legislators seem bent on ignoring voters: building Safeco Field despite a vote against the project, imposing a gas tax, again despite a vote against the idea.
Also moving away from economics, Moscoso talked about education and transportation. Moscoso said he spent 25 years with Community Transit, starting as a driver before moving on to management and eventually becoming an efficiency expert for the system.
In terms of mass transit and related issues, Moscoso said Munson doesn’t feel it is a priority in hard economic times. Moscoso said the situation needs attention sooner than later.
“We are decades behind where we need to be,” he said.