The nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy today released the 2015 edition of its “Who Pays?” report which analyzes the tax structure in all 50 states.

Just as it has since ITEP began this study in 1996, Washington again topped the list of states with the most regressive tax structure. According to the study, low income Washingtonians pay 16.8 percent of their income in taxes while the wealthiest people in the state pay just 2.4 percent. 

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson called Washington’s existing tax structure “unsustainable and more importantly, unfair. An enormous part of our budget solution is reforming our state’s tax structure in a way that helps working families and small businesses, not harms them. Unfortunately fixing this was made much more difficult on Monday.”

On the first day of the 2015 Legislative Session, Senate Republicans adopted a rule that requires the support of two-thirds of Senators to approve any “new taxes.” This means the same taxes that make Washington the most regressive in the nation – sales tax, business and occupation tax, property tax and others – can be raised with a simple majority of senators. Taxes paid by the wealthiest Washingtonians and polluters, however, will be held to a higher standard.

“On Monday, Republicans essentially created the Billionaire Protection Act,” Nelson said. “Working families and small business owners are simply trying to make ends meet. Fixing our backwards tax structure to meet the best interests of the majority of Washingtonians will now be much more difficult.”