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Tax Fairness Alert

As most of you are aware, FCWPP believes that reform of the current State Tax Structure is the most pressing economic justice concern in Washington State. We have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, the second-worst hunger problem and a $2 billion plus budget gap that will undoubtedly lead to further cuts in essential services. We are proponents of a tax structure that fairly taxes all income levels and raises adequate revenue to support vital public services.After a year of examining the most pressing problems with our current tax system, the Washington State Tax Structure Committee presented its report to the Legislature on December 3, 2002. The committee's report said the state's tax structure is unfair to low- and middle-income residents, as well as many businesses. State revenue is also subject to wide variations, contributing to our current budget crisis. The report outlines major alternatives to the tax structure including implementation of a personal income tax combined with the…

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Washington State Tax Structure Alert

In November of 2001, the FCWPP legislative committee met to discuss how FCWPP could be more effective inpromoting economic justice in a time of continuing budget crisis, the consequences of which are the balancing of the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society. The committee agreed that our efforts should be focused on the revenue side of the budget equation, specifically, the Washington State tax structure.The OpportunityThis is a critical time to let the governor, our legislator’s, and the public know you want real reform of our tax system. Washington just barely closed a $1.6 billion budget gap in the 2002 legislative session, and we are facing another $2.0billion plus gap for the next biennium. The foundation of our fiscal problems is a tax structure that is highly regressive and unstable. Several “tax” events are on the horizon and FCWPP needs your help in calling for progressive tax reform before they reach…

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2002 Legislative Update

The 2002 Session of the Washington State Legislature ended with reasons for Friends to be encouraged. Please share the news with your Meetings and Worship Groups.DRUG SENTENCE REFORM BILL DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR LOCKEFCWPP's key legislation in this session, the drug sentence reform bill, which reduces prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders and expands funding for treatment alternatives, passed the House with 67 yeas, 30 nays, and 1 absent on the final day of session. Governor Locke is expected to sign it.Friends had a significant role in the origins and success of this, which begins the transition from treating addiction as a criminal act to placing it in a public health context where lasting solutions lie. The following is an assessment from Roger Goodman, who is leading the King County Bar Association's Drug Policy Project: "In a national context, I believe we've done well here with drug sentencing reform. What started three…

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On Tuesday the 12th the State Senate refused to concur with House-amended Senate Bill 6704 by a vote of 32-13. The bill was immediately returned to the House, which appears ready to stand firm on its amendments, which replaced all of the more carefully crafted language offered by prime sponsor Senator Adam Kline with language from House bills 2879 and 2416.The bill can continue to move back and forth before session ends, and messages of appreciation are still needed, especially for the Senate leaders who opposed the amended bill. Brief messages work best Friends can be thankful that the death penalty was not expanded in this state and that due process and the rights of the accused remain intact in state law. ACTION: Call, e-mail, or write these leaders with thanks for rejecting the House version of SB 6704: Majority Leader, Sid Snyder 360-786-7636Majority Caucus Chair, Harriet Spanel 360-786-7678 Majority Floor Leader, Betti Sheldon 360-786-7644; sheldon_be@leg.wa.govMajority Whip, Tracey Eide…

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Brief messages by you on Friday or early Saturday will make a difference.Senate Bill 6704, which in its current form creates new terrorism crimes, expands the application of the death penalty, and expands police surveillance authority, passed the House 70 to 23 on Wednesday, with five Representatives absent or excused. It is notable that the yes vote was lower than any previous terrorism bills. Contact by concerned citizens is changing some votes. The following Representatives voted against this bill:Maralyn Chase, D-32 Eileen Cody, D-11 cody_ei@leg.wa.govMike Cooper, D-21 Jeannie Darneille, D-27 Hans Dunshee, D-39 Ruth Fisher, D-27 Sam Hunt, D-22 Ruth Kagi, D-32 Phyllis Kenney, D-46 Patricia Lantz, D-26 Joe McDermott, D-34 Jim McIntire, D-46 Ed Murray, D-43 Val Ogden, D-49 Phil Rockefeller, D-23 Sandra Romero, D-22 romero_sa@leg.wa.govSharon Tomiko Santos, D-37 Shay Schual-Berke, D-33 Brian Sullivan, D-21 Kip Tokuda, D-37 Dave Upthegrove, D-33 Velma Veloria, D-11 Alex Wood, D-3 Since the bill was amended by the House (actually it was completely gutted and radically different House language was substituted, see previous Alerts) the next…

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