Last week, the Steering Committee of the Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy minuted support of a state income tax and that “we encourage Friends in the State of Washington to read and consider I-1077  and if they approve it to encourage their meetings to minute their support.” If approved by voters in November this measure will tax income in excess of $200,000/individual and $400,000/couple, provide property tax relief, eliminate B&O taxes on small businesses, and create a new trust fund dedicated to quality education and healthcare. In contrast to sales taxes that affect the poorest Washingtonians most severely, I-1077 would shift some of this burden to the wealthiest among us. The links at the end of this message provide resources for your seasoning of this matter.
The Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy has long placed reform of Washington State’s tax structure high in our economic justice priorities. Friends’ testimony on equality and the biblical call to care for the least among us set the context for our leading to address what has long beencalled “the most regressive tax system in the nation.” Nearly a decade ago, two Friends officially observed the hearings held as part of the study of taxes in Washington known as the “Gates Commission.” A written analysis was submitted on our behalf. The commission’s recommendations included a progressive income tax. At that time, we knew the road would be long, and worked toward tax reform with others in the Tax Fairness Coalition. We included a graduated income tax in our view of a truly “Secure Society.”
Friends, our Steering Committee urges you to become familiar with I-1077 seeking clarity on your own approval of it. If you are so led, please also consider supporting it by signing or circulating it, by helping in ways described at http://www.yeson1077.com, and by carrying it to your meeting for its support.
In appreciation of your long-term involvement and support,
K. Terry Thorsos
 Download the text of the Initiative at http://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/initiatives/text/i1077.pdf . Learn more about it and contact the campaign supporting I-1077 at http://www.yeson1077.com  Our policy statement addresses tax fairness in Part II, Section 1 on economic life:http://www.quaker.org/fcwpp/Policy%20Statement.html  As recently as November, 2009, Washington headed the list of “the terrible ten states” that “stand out for the extraordinary degree to which they have shifted the cost of funding public investments to their very poorest residents.” http://www.ctj.org/taxjusticedigest/archive/state_tax_issues/washington/. Download a dramatic, even though basic, fact sheet (pdf) on “Who Pays” in Washington at http://www.itepnet.org/wp2009/statespecific.html. ITEP materials from 2003 are consistent with this notorious distinction, and describe graphically a tax shift from richer to poorer Washingtonians between 1989 and 2002.  Final report of the Tax Study “Gates” Commission: http://dor.wa.gov/content/aboutus/statisticsandreports/wataxstudy/wataxstudy.htm  See, for example, our 2002 Legislative Alerts: http://www.quaker.org/fcwpp/fcwpp_alert_9-26-02.htm and http://www.quaker.org/fcwpp/tax_fairness_alert_12-6-02.htm  http://www.quaker.org/fcwpp/secure_society.htm
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