News Nov 19, 2014 at 4:00 am

We Often Don't Know Who Gets Them, Why They Were Created, and What We Get in Return. Why Is Olympia Keeping This Secret?


"Representative Reuven Carlyle has made it his "mission" as chair of the House Finance Committee in Olympia to fix this mess."

Carlyle was the guy that crafted the $8.7 B taxbreak to Boeing. This was the biggest tax break in history and it was a done deal in 3 days.

The $8.7B figure was crafted behind closed doors.
Carlyle sounds like a fox guarding a henhouse.
If you idiots don't think that companies will move out of WA to other places, then you have your head up your asses.

A bigger priority would be for Oly to get their shit together and quit wasting tax money.
"Why Is Olympia Keeping This Secret?"

Because that's what Olympia does. State governments end up keeping things secret because they don't like to publicize their failures.

Take the homeless/addict/mentally ill scenario playing out in downtown Olympia. The City Council invites public input on ways to fix the problem, deftly avoiding the blatant fact that they created the problem in the first place. Typical political tactic, spin the attention away from themselves, diffuse public attention with distraction. And it works, too.
Great article. Washington State has THE most regressive tax system, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy ( It's insane that poor people pay a much higher proportion of their income in state and local taxes (16.9%) than rich people (2.8%).

But Republicans LOVE giving more money to rich people and corporations. They pursue such policies with religious fervor. Unfortunately, Gov. Inslee's eagerness to give $8.7 billion to Boeing is a symptom of the same twisted mentality.
@5: perhaps the Goppers and the Blue-Dog Demoncraps get away with it because enough White citizens think those loopholes will continue to be paid by non-Whites, Lower-Class Whites, and foreigners? --- & .
Democrats covering for the buddies.

No big surprise.
What does Frank Chopp have to say about this?

Also, Reuven Carlyle, author of the Boeing tax breaks, when Boeing sent another batch of jobs last September:
“It’s frustrating, and I think it’s disappointing,” said state Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle. “But I don’t think it violates the spirit of the overall relationship between Boeing and Washington state, when you look at the fact that they have increased by tens of thousands the numbers of employees they’ve had since 2003.”
If only there was a word that described what you call it when corporations control the government...
I was thinking about this issue the other day, when there was an article about how much each and every retail pot location paid in taxes each month. I'd love to compare those numbers to the numbers for Boeing and other aerospace contractors.
The most disturbing thing about this article is not the size of the tax breaks, or the lack of transparency. The most disturbing thing is the fawning over Carlyle, as if he was some kind of hero, when he is, and has been, one of the people most responsible for the situation. Any time he mentions the word "innovation," which is likely to be at least once a minute, you can bet he's working on a tax break for some corp that has donated to him. Basically, he's Doug Ericksen with a D next to his name. Yet all the hipster journos continue to hang on his every word, and repeat what he says uncritically. He is a total corporate creature, and a rather accomplished snake-oil faker.
I was thinking about this issue the other day, when there was an article about how much each and every retail pot location paid in taxes each month. I'd love to compare those numbers to the numbers for Boeing and other aerospace contractors.

We can have both lean government and transparent tax breaks. We SHOULD have both.
Last I checked, Microsoft doesn't pay ANY B&O tax, as they have chartered themselves in the business tax haven of Nevada.

That's public record and I'm disappointed in Bondgraham for not citing this alleged secrecy law. Shoddy journalism, as usual, from the Stranger.
An Olympia secret? To Stranger readers perhaps.

For starters:………

And many by the Times in between. Crosscut story includes this comment:

You know, this is one of those articles that should be retired to a special “Groundhog Day” category. There are hundreds of similar articles written over the last decade about exactly the same problem...why not pick a few “best of” examples from the past and run them at a frequency determined by the level of short falls in funds available for education, emergency and social services and resources for the elderly, homeless, and people with special needs.

It could be a contest. I nominate any by Rick Anderson appearing in the Weekly over the last ten years...

Dear hypocrite,
The Stranger (as does the Seattle Times) gets a tax break as a business that print and publish a newspaper.

It's a mystery you could discover its secrets by standing up in the Stranger's offices, opening your eyes, extending your arms, twirle about, and shout, "tell me about your tax breaks", until the person prints your crap begs you to stop and confesses their tax break and societal benefits.

Look in the fucking mirror.
I used a thing called Google, inputting this incantation, "washington state newspaper tax preference"

And it doth say, "2009 Newspapers (Sales and Use Tax) $24,800,000"…

This reference site was the second result from my query, directly after your poorly researched story.
Mercantalism has always been the true Enemy of Capitalism
Your article neglects to mention the legislative effort to create a Tax Expenditure Budget as part of the biennial budget process. In the last legislative session The Tax Exemption Transparency and Accountability Act HB 2721 & SB 6477 was introduced in the House by Rep. Gerry Pollet with 25 sponsors and in the Senate by Sen. Maralyn Chase with 9 sponsors. Many folks are demanding more accountability and transparency in the process and requiring the Legislature every two years to approve the Tax Expenditure Budget would do that. For more information see which has been pushing this legislation and will be re-introducing it again in the next session. If the Legislature does not act on this measure the intent is to put it on the 2016 ballot for the voters to adopt.
I dare you to email "your" state legislators and ask them this question: Will they close the eternally anti-meritocratic state-wide tax loopholes for the Few? (Don't expect a reply from ANY of them . . . .)
Your article is off on the amount of revenue involved in tax exemptions in Washington State. If you look at the most recent report - the 2012 Washington State Tax Exemption Report by the Washington State Department of Revenue,…, it states that in the previous biennium while the state collected some $6.5 billion in B&O taxes it exempted some $7.6 billion. And when you add in sales and use taxes the state collected some $21 billion in revenue, while exempting some $20 billion. About 90% of the existing exemptions have no sunset provisions. Some 450 of the more than 650 exemptions are discretionary and are not required by state or Federal constitutional law. More transparency and accountability is needed on tax exemptions. Collecting even half of the exempted B&O taxes would easily fund the Washington State Supreme Court McCleary decision to adequately fund basic education as required by the Washington State Constitution. Urge your legislators to support creation of a Tax Expenditure Budget every 2 years as part of the biennial budget process by supporting the language in HB 2721 & SB 6477 from this year when they are introduced as new bills in the next session of the legislature. This year 25 House members and 9 Senate members supported this legislation.
"pot location paid in taxes each month. I’d love to compare those numbers to the numbers for Boeing”

You’re the reason why no one takes the loony left seriously; economics as understood by culinary arts majors at Seattle Community College. I’ve got news for you, building probably the single most important transportation equipment on the planet is not as important as getting stoned.

And if you think we should slap an 8% sales tax on a $200 million dollar 787-800 (the largest part of Boeing’s tax breaks), you’re fucking dumber than I thought.
Sounds good to me. Boeing should actually pay zero taxes for what they bring to the state.

Please do put that on the ballot. Where do I sign?
papa oly wants you to shut your mouth and your mind. Washington is the lynch pin of the west coast war industry. Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Microsoft! dont lie to yourself, you know Microsoft has defense contracts therefor they act as if they are the defense dept. consume at all costs with no overhead limit. FEED ME SEYMOUR!!!
It is very odd that Google can tell you how much Boeing or Microsoft paid in state taxes when it is supposedly illegal for state officials to provide such information.

Considering the fact that most people in the state know how much Boeing and Microsoft specifically pay in state taxes (it has repeatedly been in the news, both print and video), I suspect somebody is blowing smoke up your hind end because they don't like The Stranger.

It is no secret that large corporations pay effectively (and in some cases literally) no state taxes. It has been that way for over a decade.

Is Dan the only person on The Stranger staff that has lived here even 10 years?
@5: I admit I am shocked at Governor Inslee's $8.7 billion package to McBoeing ('You want fries with that 787?'). Union-busting-annual-bonus -lusting CEO Jim McNerney couldn't care LESS about Washington State's people, working families, crumbling infrastructure or the economy.

Boeing employees---are any of you better off now than you were at the 51-49 vote?

@23 Did you just move here?
Washington State Supreme Court is one of the most progressive courts in the country. Hopefully they will say that the legislators should not be allowed to give away our tax dollars, first by not taxing the 12 billionaires, second by giving tax breaks to corporations PRIOR to serving the needs of the people, especially the 30,000 homeless children in Washington State. Tax breaks are unconstitutional and should be illegal. Hold the legislators accountable. These tax breaks are almost 5 times the amount of our operating budget. This is criminal.
Does anyone else feel James Yamasaki's illustrative art for this article was stunning in its concept and rendering? It's perfectly brilliant. Well done, James.
At least you know why the Washington State Supreme court's discussing 8th grade civics, unchanged since 1889.

Illegal privilege, confusing Olympis'a Tumwater Brewing Company, where any old drunk can get elected by the imbeciles voting in this state.

"Three generations of imbeciles are enough." Mr. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

SECTION 8 IRREVOCABLE PRIVILEGE, FRANCHISE OR IMMUNITY PROHIBITED. No law granting irrevocably any privilege, franchise or immunity, shall be passed by the legislature.

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