Economic Justice

Connecting with FAN’s Economic Justice Working Group:

Faith Action Network has an Economic Justice Working Group working on flipping Washington State’s tax code right side up to provide relief and equity to our poorest residents. You can join by sending an email to [email protected] with your name, address, best phone number, and your home address to figure out your legislative district. You will receive periodic emails about education and advocacy events, usually no more than two per month. If you have questions about the working group, email the group’s co-leaders, Jane Sisk  or Steve Clagett. The Working Group partners with a multi-organization coalition, All in for Washington.

How Bad is Washington State’s Economic Injustice?

It couldn’t be worse. The state ranks dead last in terms of tax regressivity, the degree to which the tax burden impacts the poor and lets those most affluent off easy. See this Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy ranking.

Why This Year Could Lead to Change:

The Legislature must meet its constitutional “paramount duty” to fund education according to the State Supreme Court McCleary decision.  The court is fining the state $100,000 per day until this is fixed.  Right now, the legislature is in its every-other-year budget session and must find a way to adequately fund education by June 30 or face additional court action.  Reasonable estimates suggest the state must find $3 billion in additional revenue for the two-year budget.

$3 Billion – Can We Raise This Additional Revenue?

Easily, but first legislators must come to agreement that this new revenue is needed to avoid drastic cuts to our state’s support of other priorities, such as remedying our failed mental health system.  In the mid 1990’s, Washington ranked 11th among states in the extent to which we invested in our well-being.  Since then, despite the tremendous growth of our economic engines like Amazon, Starbucks, Boeing, and Microsoft, our state has fallen to 38th place among states.  Providing the additional $3 Billion wouldn’t even get us above the national average for state taxation.  See page two of this report on Washington revenues.

Can We Raise Revenue Without Increasing The Poor’s Tax Burden?

Yes, and that’s our goal. Washington is one of only eight states that don’t tax capital gains. The top 1% of Washingtonians would pay more than 90% of the proposed tax. See this information and argument for adding a capital gains tax.  Other proposals would create tax exemptions and rebates for poorer households and also close tax exemptions for corporations.

We need you to attend town hall meetings and legislative hearings, and to write and email your legislators and local newspapers.
We look forward to working with you!