01 March 2012

Capital Gains, Tax Exemptions Expiration, testimony

Yesterday (Wednesday 29 February 2012,) I testified on a couple of bills at the Washington State House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. There were other bills of interest, but I wasn't adequately prepared, and bill sign in was hectic, with a busy hallway. Here's a little more about the two pieces of testimony:

Capital Gains Testimony


In this testimony I was SUPER nervous, and felt super rushed too, and neglected to mention the two concepts that I most wanted to address: "externalities" and bullying.

Companies "externalize" their harmful impacts so that they don't detract from their financial bottomline. I wanted to suggest that the world might be better if the concept of externalization was eliminated, and that might be accomplished through advocacy and regulatory efforts.

I also wanted to argue that as bullying is wrong in schools, the workplace, and general society, it is also wrong in greater economic schemes, (as well as in legislative discourse.) Really bullying is wrong anywhere. Capital gains tax could very much go toward encouraging a world of dwindling aggressions and hostilities practiced between people, and by people against the planet.

Tax Preferences Expiry


This testimony is a little more self-explanatory. Currently, there are over 500 tax exemptions that benefit various industries. Some people say there is not enough scrutiny in regard to the merits of the industries that receive these benefits — and that they amount to entitlement for already successful and wealthy industries, and the benefits from these exemptions can be seen to trickle-up to banks and other upper level financial powers.

During a hearing about tax preferences last year, Citizen Commission for Performance Measurement of Tax Preferences Chair, William A. Longbrake, described the state tax code and surrounding political activity as arcane.
Here's a link to a segment of testimony from that hearing:


  1. Wow. That was pretty embarrassing, Berd. I guess you're used to it?