Washington state budgets by “biennium.” As a result of this crisis, state forecasts show a shortfall of about $4.5B per biennium in 2019-21, 2021-23, and 2023-25.
The Economic Opportunity Institute has identified progressive taxes that will affect only the rich that could raise more than twice that much per year–over $10B annually.
That’s a reflection of the massive amount of tech income and wealth in our state–and it is only going to increase.
Let’s be clear about how much it could do for people who need help. State and local governments in Washington can use public funds to help households earning up to 80 percent of area median income, or “AMI.” By way of example, in Seattle that’s an individual earning up to $61,800 annually or $88,250 for a family of four.
Progressive taxes on those of us doing very well indeed could go a long way toward helping folks get through this crisis, get back on their feet faster, and get the whole economy humming again as quickly as possible.
And if we replace some of the state’s regressive taxes like the sales tax with those that pull income and wealth from our many billionaires and millionaires off the sidelines and into the economy, we’ll help average people bounce back better off while creating more jobs.
It’s clear that some of these progressive revenue options will have to fight through legal challenges–but there’s reason to be optimistic. University of Washington law professor Hugh Spitzer argues persuasively that the 1933 state supreme decision that has prevented a progressive income tax decision was probably wrongly decided then and glaringly obviously wrong now.
The state legislature should pass a progressive income tax that gives the court a chance to weigh in.
And no progressive revenue will be raised if the legislature passes on all the options they can clearly get rolling on right now without challenges.
That’s why it’s imperative to move forward on all fronts to #TaxUsNow.