February 3rd, 2004

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Bill strikes at big firms sans benefits

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/159131_insuranceside03.html

Her proposal, House Bill 2785, would make employers with 50 or more full-time employees pay a fee, equal to the cost of covering someone under Basic Health, if they don't provide health care to workers.

It's too bad this won't have much of a chance at passing in the legislature, as I think it's a damned fine idea. I have a problem with the recent efforts at many levels to stop taxing corporations, especially at the local and state levels. I very much dislike the sweetheart deal we gave Boeing to locate its 7E7 production in Everett. The argument for these deals is that businesses will locate jobs in Washington, and then we can get the tax money to cover the services for employees from the employees themselves. The problem with this is that there is no guarantee these companies create the jobs, and we (the rest of the taxpayers) are stuck with the bill for the services.

Sure, it would amount to taxing at the corporate level and also at the individual level (when the corporations profits are distributed to shareholders). However, the bulk of the taxes at the individual level are avoided simply because shareholders by and large live out of state. And filter their share of profits through tax shelters so they don't have ot pay taxes on this money even at the federal level.

Meanwhile, they've attracted people to come into our communities in the hopes of jobs which may not be there, and we pay for services for them that we don't have the tax base to support. Taxing the corporation even at a small level shifts the burden back in state. Also, the administrative burden then does not fall onto individuals to complete all the steps necessary. That's an inherently more expensive option. Having fewer well trained people manage the paperwork is much cheaper. The thing about this bill is that it focuses entirely on larger businesses. There is no burden on small business with this bill.