Yesterday, Children’s Alliance rallied in Olympia with dozens of civil rights, education, health care and environmental organizations to seek justice and stand strong for a balanced approach to the state’s budget gap.
We share one resounding message derived from our common Washington values: Even in a persistently poor economy, the budget should not be balanced on the backs of Washington’s most vulnerable.
A fair and sound revenue system is not only the cornerstone of our shared prosperity, but it is the way we put our values into action to preserve essential services for children and families. Our state’s revenue system badly needs reform so that it generates resources fairly for Washingtonians in bad times as well as good.
Even during tough economic times like these, a public opinion poll indicates that Washingtonians support revenue options to fund Basic Health. Informal polls also show that we want to protect vital areas such as education, health care and other services such as food assistance.
So the choices should be simple. Apple Health for Kids for 27,000 Washington children or continuing to let out-of-state shoppers avoid sales tax? Helping ensure that 30,000 young mothers have healthy babies, or allowing tax breaks for non-organic fertilizer sales?
With the money earned in one year from lifting one tax break on the sale of out-of-state coal, Washington could feed about 15,000 hungry children on State Food Assistance for six months.
This year, lawmakers should close corporate tax loopholes and preferential rates that are not in the public interest. Revenue must be raised to allow for a balanced approach to the budget and preserve essential services for children and families.
And now, more serious discussions are happening in Olympia about putting a tax reform referendum on the ballot.
Let’s hope that lawmakers think deeply about our economic futures as Washingtonians. Continued advocacy and willingness to look at the revenue side of the budget is critical to Washington state’s shared prosperity among children and families.