As a lifelong resident of Washington state, I’ve seen firsthand the slow decline of our social services.
First, while I attended school in the Northshore School District, I watched as teachers struggled to afford basic supplies for their students and sagged under the rising class sizes. Then, as a student at Western Washington University during the recession, I watched as my fellow classmates collapsed from escalating student debt and exploding tuition costs. Finally, I watched the very bridge I commuted on from my hometown in Bothell to my surrogate home in Bellingham literally fall into the Skagit river due to our lagging state infrastructure.
This drove me to question how our government could have let our state slip into such a state of disrepair and the answer was simple. We must fix our regressive tax structure.
We currently have two bi-partisan bills in the both the House and the Senate. Each proposes a way to fix our taxes so that our poorest citizens don’t have to pay more in taxes than the wealthiest corporations and families that are currently enjoying specialty tax breaks and deductions. We must join the 42 other states who have implemented a tax on high-end capital gains. If we instituted this tax at a modest interest rate, we could see an increase in revenue of $715 million from money that would otherwise have gone back into the pockets of the richest citizens in our state. The additional revenue could go toward the McCleary decision to fully fund K-12 education.
These bills would also do away with the large tax breaks that our biggest corporations’ profit from, all the while they ship our jobs out of state and overseas. We could see tax reforms that would close these loopholes and help lift the burden on our local small business who do not benefit from these deductions to the tune of $1.2 billion dollars.
We need to stop giving handouts to large corporations and start re-investing in our basic and higher education. We need to make our state safe and fair to live in and not rely on the generosity of companies like Boeing who take our tax breaks and then hand out pink slips. We don’t need new taxes, we just need to make our taxes fair on all citizens and stop pushing our lower and middle income families into poverty while soaring housing profits leave them homeless and real estate barons rich.
I urge every citizen to call their state legislators and encourage them to support HB2186 and SB5929. There’s no reason why the home of Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks shouldn’t have the money to invest in its citizens’ futures if they only paid the same taxes as the rest of us.