Washington Policy Center Proposes Tax Transparency Website

Aug 14, 2008

Olympia – Washington Policy Center today released a policy recommendation to create an online searchable database of all tax rates in the state. The recommendation calls for a “Taxation Disclosure Act,” to help citizens and businesses learn about how much officials in each taxing district add to a citizen’s total tax burden. A typical home, for example, can be located in as many as ten different taxing districts.

“Have you ever wondered what your total state and local tax bill is but struggled to calculate government’s take of your income? So have we,” said Jason Mercier, Government Reform director at the Washington Policy Center and author of the proposal. “This is why we think it is time to create an online searchable database of all tax rates for each taxing district to help citizens and business-owners answer this question.”

If adopted by state officials, the proposal would set up an online database where users could find their state and local tax rates (such as property and sales taxes) by entering their zip code, street address, or by clicking on a map showing individual taxing district boundaries. An online calculator would let citizens determine their total tax burden and which officials are responsible for which parts of it.

“The ‘Taxation Disclosure Act’ is similar to this year’s successful adoption by the legislature (SB 6818) of Washington Policy Center’s recommendation to create a searchable state budget website,” said Mercier. “We are hopeful that policymakers will see this as an opportunity to make taxation more transparent and help citizens learn more about what government decisions mean to their pocket books.”

Additional Information 

Taxation Disclosure Act

Governor signs Washington Policy Center proposal for searchable budget website