It takes money to implement the kinds of policy changes that create meaningful improvements in kids’ lives. Expanding school meal programs, ensuring child safety, or helping families get health coverage for their kids—all of these programs require a financial investment from the state.
In Washington State, lower-income households pay disproportionately more in taxes than households with higher incomes. In fact, according to the Washington Department of Revenue, only three other states in the nation have household tax burdens that are more regressive than Washington’s.
Washington State does not have an income tax. Instead, we rely on sales and property tax to generate most of our state’s revenue. When the economy slows, people spend less money, and less tax revenue is generated. This regressive-consumption based tax system results in a decline in revenue at times when people need support the most.
Without progressive and stable revenue sources, the programs kids’ rely on struggle to gain consistent and adequate funding. Children should not pay the price of an unjust tax structure. Washington needs a fair tax system. A fair system would distribute responsibility equitably, provide adequate resources, promote economic growth, and be accountable to the public.
We are making progress toward a more equitable system. In 2008 the Children’s Alliance was part of a broad coalition led by the Washington Budget and Policy Center that won the Working Families Tax Rebate.