Time to change sales tax split

On July 1, 2008, the destination sales tax went into effect. The destination sales tax was set up so if a retailer (seller) sold something (purchaser), and the item(s) was to be delivered to the purchaser in a different city or county, the retailer would charge the sales tax applicable to the delivered city/county and then pay that sales tax to that city/county. If the purchaser was to take the item(s) with them (not have it delivered by a third party), then the sales tax would be determined by the tax applicable to the location of the seller and the sales tax would be paid to the seller’s city/county.

This distribution of the sales tax to the destination city/county was long overdue, but it fell short of what should have been in the law. Since each transaction has a buyer and a seller, both of whom bring benefits to the transaction, why is 100 percent of the sales tax being paid to the destination city/county, when the selling city/county is an equal party to the transaction, but the selling city/county receives none of the applicable sales tax. Right now the destination city/county gets 100 percent of the sales tax and the selling city/county gets 0 percent. Is it not more equitable for both the purchasing city/county and the selling city/county to split the sales tax equally, 50/50.

Splitting the sales tax 50/50 between purchaser and the seller locations can easily be accomplished today with computers that are doing the work anyway. We all have nine-digit zip codes for our street, city/county address. (It is on our driver’s license.) I suggest the Washington State Senate and/or House make this modification to the sales tax distribution without any delay, so that all of the parties — the purchasing city/county and the selling city/county — to the transaction get an equal and equitable share of the sales tax. The sales tax charged should be based upon the seller’s location, to keep it simple.

Mike Lantz

Retired tax attorney


Writer defends

Burke again

Too many of us want, want, want; but don’t “want” to pay, pay, pay. Our national infrastructure is collapsing, and though everybody wants new roads, bridges, etc. they don’t want to pay a few more cents for a gallon of gas. Bush/Cheney drove the U.S. economy into the ditch with its unfunded trillion-dollar Iraq war, at the expense of investing in education, health care, and job creation/training. These all reduce crime and recidivism through lowering unemployment and providing incentives for bettering oneself.

One construction/service sector is booming, though: the prison industry — the U.S. has the highest percentage in the world of its population incarcerated, and by a large margin. In Pacific County, the Old Testament folks are hollering about justice undone, and putting folks in jail and throwing away the key, at an average taxpayer cost of $29,000 per year. They want an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; until a large segment of our population is wandering around with prison records, blind and all gummy-mouthed. And, I’m not talking about just the meth addicts.

Folks, true exacted justice is expensive — almost prohibitively expensive these days! Our county can’t afford all that is demanded, unless you complainers want to pony up more taxes... Hmmm, don’t see any hands going up. We are fortunate that David Burke is an astute and pragmatic prosecutor. He continually gets the best overall “deal” Pacific County can afford, even at the cost of bitter personal attacks, given his office’s limited financial and personnel resources. I wouldn’t say he’s totally New Testament, but unless all of you complainers want to render more unto Caesar — let’s consider turning the other cheek just a wee bit in a more cost-effective manner, and always remember: There but fortune go you or I.

We now have a Kittitas County reject saying if he becomes prosecuting attorney (PA), he will prosecute to the full extent of the law, costs be damned, and have them locked up until the cows come home. Notwithstanding the fact that hardly a week goes by without higher courts throughout the state overturning convictions obtained by overzealous and ambitious PAs. This in turn causes costly re-trials at those city’s and county’s (i.e., taxpayers) expense and severely impacts their already limited budgets.

Of course, budget whiz Mark McClain doesn’t seem to mind, having twice himself declared Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy. Driving Pacific County into the ditch financially would be just another day at the office for him, apparently. He has no qualms about making sure everyone else fully repays their debt to society, while he walks away from his — by knowing how to make the legal system work to his advantage.

As a county commissioner, McClain had a recall petition filed against him, and was the subject of investigations by law enforcement authorities regarding alleged threats/assaults, as well as an incident regarding trespass of a bar. Several complaints of unethical practices while teaching a class at CWU were documented during that same period, not to mention some allegations of election results counting shenanigans. I find it quite ironic that with Mark McClain as Pacific County PA, he could end up sometimes having a longer ”rap sheet” than some of those he may be tasked with prosecuting.

I believe I have presented a compelling argument that if you are any kind Democrat worth your salt, with the cajones and the backbone and the foresight to support justice at a cost our county can truly afford, you can understand why I beg of you not to throw our guy under the bus. It’s all about the money, folks, it’s not incompetency or malfeasance of job duties by Mr. Burke!

I can appreciate and accept if you may have a problem of one sort or another with David Burke, but it is very apparent to me, and hopefully by now to you too, that Mark McClain is not the answer. He apparently wasn’t for Kittitas County and he’s not for ours, either.

Michael Spencer


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