Click What can Friends Do? to learn what FCWPP recommends you ask of your legislators. Everyone comes comes to Olympia at the start of each legislative session with high hopes. Progressives hope to finally reverse the regressive nature of our state’s tax system to fully fund needed social safety net programs, protect our environment, and fully fund our schools (both K-12 and higher ed). Conservatives hope to use the ever present financial crisis to further shrink government and increase individuals’ control of wealth in support of a belief that each state resident selfishly pursuing his or her personal, or family’s, economic interests creates the best of all possible socio-economic structures. Senate Republicans are attempting limit revenue increases and end run a State Supreme Court ruling that a 2/3 majority requirement to increase revenue is unconstitutional. A Senate Rule requiring a 2/3 majority to schedule any vote needed to determine whether a constitutional majority of 50 percent plus 1 supports increasing state revenue seems to be the tool of choice. Stay tuned, Senate Rules can be suspended or amended by a majority of 50 percent plus 1 at any time, the Lieutenant Government may intervene, and the State Supreme Court may again step in to remove obstacles that prevent a constitutional majority from modifying our state’s laws.
Worst deficit in a decade
The 2015 legislative session is going to be a lot about revenue and spending. Past legislatures have cut and cut in response to reduced state revenues caused by the recent recession and made worse by our regressive tax system: The poorest 20 percent in Washington pay 17 percent of their income in taxes to the state while the wealthiest 1 percent pay 2 percent in taxes to the state (Budget & Policy Center). The session began with a projected deficit of close to $2 billion, created primarily by McCleary requirements to increase state funding of education. An additional $4 billion would be required to reduce K-12 class sizes as mandated by Initiative 1351, which passed by a slim majority in November. Without new revenue, the legislature will cut vitally needed social safety net programs to shift resources and spend more on schools.
Governor’s proposals remedy regressive taxes and reduce global warming
Governor Inslee has proposed a 7 percent tax on capital gains in excess of $25,000/year ($50,000 for a couple) that would provide $800 million in increased revenue, and raises additional millions by requiring those who currently pollute our air, and contribute to In addition to your direct involvement in advocacy, FCWPP needs your financial support to continue its work. Credit card contributions may be made online at https://qvwa.org, by clicking on the “Donate” button near the top of the page on the right. Directions for making contributions by check are also on the website. Because FCWPP is a lobbying organization, contributions are not tax deductible. global warming without penalty, pay the public for the damage they do to our shared environment. While the money raised through the proposed Green House Gas emissions reduction (GHG) program is significant, and needed, the more important goal is to create an incentive for us all to be better planetary stewards (42 percent of greenhouse gases are from auto emissions). The governor’s proposal creates financial incentives to encourage us to consume less, invest in technologies that produce energy with fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and to sequester free carbon. Without this program requirements in current state law to greenhouse gas will most likely be violated. What can Friends do? Both a capital gains tax, and a requirement that those who currently consume our atmosphere for free start paying a fee, are controversial. However, polls show a majority supports the proposed cap and trade program. Many also support efforts to better distribute the costs required to maintain our social safety net and fully fund our education system. Legislators need to hear from the Friends whom they represent (email, visits, phone calls, or letters). Tell the two legislators who represent you in the House of Representatives, and your State Senator, that you support the governor’s proposal for a capital gains tax AND his proposed greenhouse gas emissions reduction program as required to provide funding needed to maintain or improve our state’s infrastructure of Social Safety Net programs, schools, and support a cleaner environment. Then ask your neighbors to do the same. The improved infrastructure supported by Governor Inslee’s proposals is required if all neighbors—our children and our children’s children—are to have equal opportunity at economic success and good health.