Are you planning to go to Olympia to testify for new, progressive revenue? Are you writing an email or getting ready to call your legislators? As the 2019 legislative session gets under way, Washington’s Paramount Duty is here to provide you with some helpful suggestions about what to say and how to say it. As always, please feel free to edit this to meet your needs, and include a personal story about your family and your school if you feel comfortable doing so.
I am a public school parent at [name the school and/or the district]. Washington’s tax code is the most upside-down in the country, with those making the least paying 18% or more of their income towards state and local taxes, while the wealthiest pay only 3% or less. The legislature needs to act.
I support Governor Inslee’s bold revenue proposal. This plan will help right Washington’s upside-down tax system and allow our state to make necessary investments in our public schools, behavioral health, and homelessness services and supports.
Washington is now a state of haves and have nots. Our tax system places a disproportionate burden on those with the lowest incomes. Our wealthiest individuals and largest corporations take home huge profits while we critically underfund education, mental health, homelessness supports, and other crucial programs. We need new and progressive revenue sources, such as the ones in the Governor’s budget, to fund our public schools and other critical state needs.
We strongly support the capital gains tax on the sale of stocks, bonds, and other assets.
Forty-one other states have a capital gains tax. It does not cause rich people to move away. California raised taxes on the rich to fund schools in both 2012 and 2016 and Silicon Valley’s wealthy residents are all still there. And the tax will only affect a tiny fraction of taxpayers — about the top 1.5 percent.
While Washington has a small tax on some services services, the state doese not tax services to the extent we tax goods. This is a problem because services have grown to nearly a quarter of our state’s economy and Washington’s service economy also disproportionately caters to higher-income residents. This means we currently don’t collect enough generally, and the ones who benefit from this disparity are the wealthy.Increasing the B&O tax on services from 1.5% to 2.5% would generate about $2.6 billion of desperately needed more progressive revenue in the next biennium.
Moving to a graduated rate for the state’s real estate excise tax would both generate needed new income for our state and help make our tax code more progressive. This is an excellent proposal, especially when the increased revenue could be invested in better public schools—which in turn boost real estate values.
We know from the experience of states like California that raising revenues for education by targeting those with the greatest ability to pay is very good for the economy.
Skilled workers and businesses want to stay in a state with fully funded good schools. That is part of our competitive advantage. The Governor’s revenue proposal both brings in needed revenue and helps right our upside-down tax code. Please enact this proposal and invest in public schools, behavioral health, homelessness services and supports, and other critical programs.