Letter to the Editor: Jesse Salomon and tax reform

Friday, July 20, 2018

To the Editor:

This year State Senator Maralyn Chase has a serious opponent, Jesse Salomon of the Shoreline City Council. As an experienced political leader he may end up in the top two in the primary election, giving us a Democrat-vs-Democrat general election. Some of Salomon’s campaign statements concern me.

He makes a central issue of property taxes, saying “I will fight to reduce them so they are not a burden to seniors and middle-class property owners.” This is a problem for two reasons. First, he says nothing about how to replace the revenue that would be lost by such tax cuts. At this point the state needs more revenue, not less -- for education, mental health and drug rehab services, homelessness, and other serious social problems. Where would Salomon find it?

My second concern is that he seems to be favoring a relatively affluent group of people, when there are desperately poor people who need much more help. Granted, some people, especially seniors on lower fixed incomes, are “house-poor,” and are genuinely burdened by property taxes in terms of cash flow. But homeowners in general are more affluent than non-homeowners, older homeowners are generally better off than younger ones, usually having more equity in their homes, and there are ways of translating that equity into cash flow. So property taxes, while a problem for lower-income homeowners, are actually the more progressive part of our infamously regressive tax structure. I hope Salomon can address these issues, as well as progressive tax reform.

Chris Nielsen


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