Urge our state legislators to approve revenue increases needed to reduce the cuts in vital state services, and to consider an income tax
1. Please ask your Representatives in the State House or Representatives to support the larger increases in state revenue approved by the Senate
The state senate last week passed a budget that provides increased revenue and decreased cuts relative to the budgets proposed by the governor and under consideration in the house. Although neither the senate budget, the house budget, nor the governor’s budget create revenue increases of sufficient magnitude to avoid what most Quakers see as unacceptable cuts in state services, from a practical, short-term, perspective the most valuable input Friends can give may be to encourage members in the House of Representative to support the larger increases in state revenue contained in the budget passed by the Senate. (see http://budgetandpolicy.org/schmudget/comparison-of-2010-revenue-proposals for more information.)
To find your legislator via the internet (including email address and phone number) check: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx
2. Ask your representatives in the State Senate and House to support SJR 8219 and HJR 4221, which would replace part of the current sales tax with an income tax on the most wealthy. Make your voice heard for long-term opportunities provided through tax reform.
While the political limitations of the current legislative session are important to remember, it is also important to note opportunities to help create a better future when they come our way. Legislative leaders are again floating a trial balloon in what appears to be a test of the public’s support for an income tax on the wealthiest Washingtonians. Our current mish mash of sales taxes, property taxes, excise taxes and business and occupation taxes forces those with the lowest incomes in our state to pay a higher percentage of those incomes to the state than is required of their wealthier neighbors. What may be worse, in times of economic crisis tax revenue declines at rates in excess of the rate of economic decline. As a result, when the need for the support and services we create and provide through our state is greatest, we see dramatic decreases in the revenue required to pay for that support and those services.
It seems unlikely legislators will seriously consider an income tax this session, however, the issue has been raised. Those who seem opposed to any effort to fill the budgetary hole created by the projected $2.8 billion deficit are making it known they oppose the proposal to reduce the state sales tax by 7.7 percent and tax head of household incomes in excess of $300,000/year at 4.5 percent. (SJR 8219 and companion bill HJR 4221 reduce the taxes paid by all state residents by replacing the current 6.5% state sales tax with a 6.0% state sales tax, and tax income in excess of $200,000/year for single adults, $300,000/year for heads of households and $400,000/year for married couples at 4.5%.)
For all the above reasons, we urge you to also ask your representatives in the State Senate and House of Representatives to support SJR 8219 and HJR 4221.
Economic Justice Working Group Clerk
Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy