Washington’s tax structure benefits the very rich. The tax code relies on sales, property, and business taxes—and allows corporations and the wealthy to avoid paying their share.
In fact, Washington state is consistently ranked first among all 50 states in tax inequality. The poorest among us pay the greatest share of their household income in taxes, while the rich pay the least.
When those of us with the least to spare are asked to pay the greatest share, state revenue is often insufficient to pay for the things we all need: good schools, health care and quality early opportunities. As a percentage of personal income, state tax revenue is in the midst of a projected 30-year decline. When it comes to Washington state’s public goods and services, there’s less to go around.
Progressive, sustainable revenue sources, such as a capital gains tax, can create more for all to share—and also further racial justice. Longstanding discriminatory practices in housing, education, employment and finance have made economic inequality not only a matter of class, but also of race. It’s possible to use tax policy as a tool for racial justice by ensuring fairness and lifting the tax burden off striving families who struggle to get by.