News

Possible sales tax break is welcome

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

Washington residents will be able to write off state and local sales taxes on their federal income tax returns if President Bush signs sales tax equity legislation passed by Congress and supported by the Metropolitan King County Council.

The measure, which received bipartisan support from several in Washington’s congressional delegation, is estimated to reimburse the average taxpayer between $300 and almost $600.

County Councilman Larry Phillips, co-sponsor of a measure of support unanimously passed by the council, said the return will help local residents make ends meet.

“For average people struggling with tuition, gasoline and prescription drug costs, it’s going to help,” he said.

County and local officials think the legislation could provide an economic benefit to the region, too, though Federal Way finance director Iwen Wang is more cautious in her optimism.

“I think it will help because it’ll become disposable income people will most likely use a little more,” she said. But she added it probably won’t have a huge affect on Federal Way’s sales tax lethargy, which city officials say has contributed to a $3 million deficit in the city budget.

Dick Conway, co-publisher of the Puget Sound Economic Forecaster, agreed.

“It’s not a big impact, but it would be noticeable,” he said. “It is essentially as if a household is being given $500. What the typical household does with $500 is spend it.”

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