Have a Heart for Kids Day 2020

Washington’s tax system is endangering kids

Adam 04/14/15

All children deserve a great start in life. But our state’s tax system puts too many of them in harm’s way. Our tax system is:

Inequitable. Washington’s tax system is the most regressive in the nation: Low-income families pay a much higher proportion of their income than do wealthy families. The racial wealth gap means that children of color are also more likely to live in households that bear a disproportionate share of responsibility for our state’s basic services.

Regressive taxation hurts kids of all racial/ethnic backgrounds, because 4 out of 10 Washington children live in a disproportionately tax-burdened low- or moderate-income home.

Inadequate. Revenues as a proportion of the economy have shrunk over the past 15 years, resulting in cuts to basic services. Children in communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by these cuts.

Ending these cuts boosts our economy. Ending the 25 percent cut to State Food Assistance would generate more than $17 million in economic activity through June 2017.

Lawmakers have also created more than 600 tax preferences without fully accounting for their public use. Special-interest tax preferences shift the cost of basic services to those least able to bear it: low- and moderate-income households.

Legislators must close outdated and unnecessary tax preferences and adopt new sources of revenue:

Close tax loopholes that do not serve the public interest;
Pass House Bill 2224, creating a state capital gains tax that raises revenue from the wealthiest 1 percent of Washington households;
Pass House Bill 1314, the Carbon Pollution Accountability Act, with targeted investments to help all communities thrive.

Get a copy of our policy brief on revenue.