Press Releases and Ads

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUESDAY JUNE 30, 2105

Contact:

Reiny Cohen, 206/251-4083

rcohen@fairwarevenue.org

 

Legislators inched closer to passing fair revenue this year

But Senate negotiators threatened shutdown to shield tax breaks for wealthiest & large corporations

 

Olympia – Despite being blocked by Senate budget negotiators at the last minute, Washington State is inching closer to addressing our unfair revenue system, considered the worst in the nation. Legislators in Olympia moved closer toward passing a Wall Street capital gains tax, carbon pollution pricing, and closing wasteful corporate tax loopholes, according to Washington United for Fair Revenue, a diverse coalition of more than 100 organizations statewide, with leaders from all 49 legislative districts.

The Senate, House and Governor each floated capital gains tax proposals to raise hundreds of millions for education. Washington State is the worst, dead last, in the nation for tax fairness. Lowest income families pay the highest state tax rates (up to 17% as a percentage of income) while the wealthiest pay the lowest rates (as low as 2.4%).

Capital gains tax proposals received broad support from editorial boardsorganizationspeople around the state, including dozens of our wealthiest residents who believe a tax on their Wall Street profits is the fair, equitable way to pay for the public education of Washington’s future generations. Washington is one of only 9 states that does not have a capital gains tax, worth an estimated $600 – $800 million/budget cycle for Washington State.

Legislators closed a few tax loopholes, including a preferential business-and-occupation tax rate for royalty income, and closed tax breaks for software manufacturers, and out-of-state wholesalers. Unfortunately, legislators extended or adopted many other tax loopholes, such as for oil refineries. Five of our biggest industries combined – aerospace, high tech, agriculture, timber and mining – contributed only 4% of all the B&O taxes collected last year while other, smaller businesses paid the other 96%.

By threatening a government shutdown, State Senate budget negotiators shielded special tax breaks for the wealthiest residents and large corporations at the expense of basic services our communities need, including full funding for our public schools, higher education, mental health care, and long term care for growing senior populations.

Andy Nicholas, senior fiscal analyst with Washington State Budget & Policy Center says, “This is simply not a sustainable budget, no matter how you slice it.”

Eden Mack, one of the 49 for Fairness and legislative chair of the WA State Parent Teacher Association, says, “Until my daughter started first grade last year, I had no idea just how starved and overcrowded our schools have become.  Just in Seattle alone, our PTA’s are holding bake sales, auctions and run-a-thons to supplant the Seattle Public schools operating budget with over $3 million a year to pay for those things that are already defined as part of basic education — counselors, librarians, nurses, books, and, yes, even teachers. We need new revenue as part of the solution to our education funding shortfalls. We need billions more in education funding and that simply can’t be done with budget cuts or gimmicks.”

Without requiring the wealthiest residents and large, profitable corporations to pay their fair share, Washington will face budget crises like this one again and again.

Ruth Lipscomb, also one of the 49 for Fairness, says she’d be one of the few people to pay a capital gains tax. “Even though things are going quite well for me personally, I am worried about our state. Our broken tax system is accelerating the growth of income inequality, we have the most regressive system in the nation. Those of us at the top pay less than 3% of our income in state and local taxes, while the poorest among us pay 17%. That’s just not fair. It’s time to pass a modest capital gains tax to even out those numbers. I’m ready to pay that tax because it will support the things I care about like fully funded education and higher education.”

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR MONDAY 6/22 2:30PM

Contact:

Reiny Cohen, 206/251-4083

rcohen@fairwarevenue.org

WA taxpayers calling on State Senate budget negotiators to compromise

Capital gains tax on Wall Street profits best way to avoid government shutdown in a few days

Olympia – Washington United for Fair Revenue, a diverse coalition of more than 100 organizations statewide, with leaders from all 49 legislative districts, is urging State Senate budget negotiators to put a modest capital gains tax back on the table and close millions of dollars of wasteful tax loopholes to solve the state’s budget crisis and avoid a state government shutdown. This fair, equitable and sufficient solution could have been adopted in March, avoiding two unnecessary Special Sessions and the threat of a government shutdown.

Instead, State Senate budget negotiators have refused to compromise, once again promoting a budget that protects special tax breaks for the wealthiest residents and large corporations at the expense of basic services our communities need, including full funding for our public schools, higher education, mental health care, and long term care for growing senior populations.

Richard Ross, one the 49 For Fairness, lives in Senate Budget leader Andy Hill’s 45th Legislative District and says “I’ve worked as a Home Care Worker for over 6 years. I take care of my brother who had open heart surgery 5 years ago. He is developmentally delayed and needs his medications twice a day. Many home care workers in our district work long hard hours and deserve a living wage, benefits and a good retirement plan. We need a the budget that includes a capital gains tax, so that we can take care of our clients and the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

With just a few days left before critical state services, including State Parks, are shuttered, it is the State Senate budget negotiators turn to compromise by passing a modest capital gains tax on Wall Street profits, and close the many unnecessary and wasteful corporate tax breaks.  It is not only the most fair approach, it is the only way to adequately fund the bare minimum in services we need.

Anything short of adopting a modest capital gains tax and closing unfair and wasteful tax loopholes is a complete failure of leadership when Washington State is the worst, dead last, in the nation for tax fairness. It is an outrage for Senate budget negotiators to perpetuate a tax structure that makes our lowest income families pay the highest state tax rates (up to 17% as a percentage of income) while the wealthiest pay the lowest rates (as low as 2.4%).  As long as Senate budget negotiators refuse to require the wealthiest residents to pay their fair share, we will face budget crises like this one again and again.

Steven Rubenstein, business owner, agrees, saying, “Paying more in taxes will help a lot of people a whole lot more than it will hurt me. I am a 2 percenter, and I am asking for my taxes to be raised by implementing a capital gains tax.”

The capital gains tax is the only measure proposed that has broad support from editorial boardsorganizationspeople around the state, including dozens of our wealthiest residents who believe a tax on their Wall Street profits is the way to pay for public education of Washington’s future generations.

Alan Preston, who signed a letter with dozens of others supporting a capital gains tax, says “Due to an inheritance early in life, I receive investment income, which combined with my salary, puts me in the top 5% of earners. Because of Washington’s embarrassing upside down tax structure, people like me get wealthier while everyone else suffers. It’s not right. Washington is in crisis and high income earners like me should pay our fair share.”

It is time for our state lawmakers to step up and adopt the only real – and fair funding solution proposed, a capital gains tax.  Then they can declare victory and go home.

Ruth Lipscomb says, “Even though things are going quite well for me personally, I am worried about our state. Our broken tax system is accelerating the growth of income inequality, we have the most regressive system in the nation. Those of us at the top pay less than 3% of our income in state and local taxes, while the poorest among us pay 17%. That’s just not fair. It’s time to pass a modest capital gains tax to even out those numbers. I’m ready to pay that tax because it will support the things I care about like fully funded education and higher education.”

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FOR WEDNESDAY 6/17 11:30 AM
Near Chambers Bay, Tacoma WA

Contact:
Reiny Cohen, 206/251-4083 rcohen@fairwarevenue.org

  PRESS EVENT: WEDNESDAY JUNE 17, 11:30 AM

WA taxpayers calling on State Senate budget negotiators to get back to work

Dammeier and O’Ban should leave the U.S. Open to golf fans and pass fair revenue solutions for education and other state services

 
WHEN:              Wednesday, June 17, 11:30AM
WHERE:           Just a few miles from the US Open at Chambers Bay
South Campus, Bates Technical College
2201 S. 78th St, Tacoma
Bldg E, Auditorium Rooms 102/103
MAP: http://www.bates.ctc.edu/about-bates/campus-locations/south-campus-location

WHAT:              Washington taxpayers who pay the state’s lowest, and highest, tax rates are calling on State Senate budget negotiators Dammeier and O’Ban to leave the U.S. Open to golf fans and get back to work.

BACKGROUND:  Senate budget negotiators Bruce Dammeier (R- 25) and Steve O’Ban (R-28) are expected to attend the U.S. Open instead of concentrating on budget negotiations in Olympia.

With just two weeks left to avoid a State Government shutdown at midnight on June 30, Dammeier and O’Ban should be working on passing a capital gains tax to fund education and other critical state services, not watching golf.

Dammeier is Vice Chair and O’Ban is a majority member of the Senate Ways & Means Committee which is responsible for funding the 2015-2017 state budget.

Now in the second “special session” of the year, State House budget negotiators say State Senate Republicans appear unwilling to ensure the wealthiest pay their fair share through a modest capital gains tax despite support from the Seattle Times, Olympian, and many others.

Washington’s inadequate and unreliable revenue system has resulted in years of cuts to vital state services, weakening our communities. Washington’s wealthiest residents pay only 2.4% of their total income in state taxes. Middle-class families pay four times that rate, while low-income families pay seven times that rate, with a disproportionate impact on communities of color.

Washington United for Fair Revenue’s more than 100 participating groups include regional and statewide organizations such as AARP Washington, American Academy of Pediatricians, Children’s Alliance, Head Start, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Eldercare Alliance, Washington Environmental Council, State Fire Fighters Council, State Nurses Association, and the WA Parent Teacher Association.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 28th, 2015

CONTACT: Reiny Cohen

206-251-4083

www.fairwarevenue.org

Washington United for Fair Revenue responds to Senate Budget Announcement

More than 100 organizations urge legislators to stand firm in the fight for fair revenue solutions to Washington’s budget crisis

Olympia, WA – Senate budget negotiators released nothing new in their announcement today, says Washington United for Fair Revenue. On behalf more than 100 participating organizations including AARP-WA, Children’s Alliance, Nutrition First, Seattle Council of Parent, Teacher and Student Associations, and many more service providers, Washington United For Fair Revenue issued the following statement in response to the Senate proposal:

Washington United for Fair Revenue is urging our legislators to reject the Senate budget negotiators’ proposal. It still does nothing to fix the most unfair revenue system in the nation, protecting unnecessary corporate tax giveaways and enabling the wealthiest to avoid paying their fair share in taxes. Washingtonians are hurt, not helped, by the Senate’s budget proposal as our essential state services – including education, mental health care, senior services, early learning — fail to keep up with our growing needs.

Despite the recent revenue forecast indicating modest increases in anticipated tax receipts, those receipts come from a system that’s inherently unfair and unsustainable. We will continue to fall far short of the funding needed to ensure prosperity for all of our communities until we adopt fair revenue solutions. 

On behalf of our more than 100 participating organizations, Washington United for Fair Revenue supports revenue proposals that are:

  •         Fair: Do not worsen Washington State’s disproportionate tax responsibilities on small businesses and hard-working Washingtonians;
  •         Accountable: Transparent, hold everyone to the same rules, and are enforceable and open to public scrutiny;
  •         Shared: Everyone pays their fair share according to their ability, no one group is singled out to enjoy unfair special benefits or bear disproportionate responsibility;
  •       Sufficient: Generate the resources needed for investments that promote shared prosperity; and
  •      Stable: Maintain these investments through good and bad economic times.

Since March, state legislators have had a reasonable solution before them: House Bill 2224. This bill proposes a modest capital gains tax on profits made from the sales of luxury goods like stocks and bonds. This proposal is a step in the right direction, requiring Washington State’s wealthiest residents to pay their fair share while addressing the immediate shortfall in our K-12 public schools. Unfortunately, Senate budget negotiators have steadfastly refused to seriously consider this solution, or to end wasteful tax breaks for large, profitable corporations.

Washington State remains dead last in the nation for revenue fairness because our wealthiest residents pay only 2.4% of their total income in state taxes. Middle-income families pay four times that rate, while the lowest-income families pay seven times that rate, with a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Because of obsolete and unfair tax preferences, five of our biggest industries combined — aerospace, high-tech, agriculture, timber and mining – contributed only 4% last year of all the B&O taxes collected. Washington’s smaller businesses were responsible for paying the rest.

We urge our lawmakers to pass a budget that raises sufficient revenues to meet our residents’ needs and make our tax system more fair, including capital gains taxes, carbon pollution accountability, and closing corporate tax loopholes.

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Listen to our radio ad calling for the wealthiest to pay their fair share!


Assignment editors: please add to calendars

FOR MONDAY 5/4 11AM

Olympia

Frustrated public calling their own hearing on state budget during special session

People’s Hearing to feature leaders from every one of WA’s 49 legislative districts

 PRESS EVENT: MONDAY MAY 4, 11 AM

WHO: At least one person from each of Washington’s 49 legislative districts – called the 49 For Fairness – taxpayers, small business owners, teachers, nurses, parents, and many others from Walla Walla to Bellingham to Vancouver.

WHAT: Frustrated with the Senate leadership’s unwillingness to limit corporate tax breaks and ensure the wealthiest pay their fair share, people from each and every legislative district in WA are holding their own hearing during special session and delivering thousands of petitions signed by members of the public.

WHEN: Monday, May 4, 11am

WHERE: Capitol Campus,  Olympia

BACKGROUND:

 

Washington’s inadequate and unreliable revenue system has resulted in years of cuts to vital state services, weakening our communities. Washington’s wealthiest residents pay only 2.4% of their total income in state taxes. Middle-class families pay four times that rate, while low-income families pay seven times that rate, with a disproportionate impact on communities of color.

While House and Senate budget leaders negotiate behind closed doors, Washington United for Fair Revenue is calling its own people’s hearing. One representative from each legislative district will testify to legislators, and deliver signed petitions on behalf of their district, calling for a budget to include a revenue package that is fair, accountable, and shared. Including HB 2224 in the state budget would be a good first step toward bringing fairness to the taxpayers of Washington.

Washington United for Fair Revenue’s more than 100 participating groups include regional and statewide organizations such as AARP Washington, American Academy of Pediatricians, Children’s Alliance, Head Start, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Eldercare Alliance, Washington Environmental Council, State Fire Fighters Council, State Nurses Association, and the WA Parent Teacher Association.

Contact: Reiny Cohen

rcohen@fairwarevenue.org

206/251-4083

WA United for Fair Revenue

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 27, 2015

Contact: Reiny Cohen

206-251-4083rcohen@fairwarevenue.org

www.fairwarevenue.org

House Revenue Proposal Good Step Towards Tax Fairness

Coalition of 100+ Organizations Issues Statement

Olympia, WA – Washington United for Fair Revenue issued the following statement regarding the House budget proposal released today:

“On behalf of more than 100 participating organizations, representing the diverse interests of people across our state, Washington United for Fair Revenue supports the House proposal as a good first step towards addressing our state’s unfair, unstable and chronically inadequate revenue system.

Today, Washington State ranks dead last in the nation for revenue fairness because some are not asked to pay their fair share. Washington has been trapped in a perpetual cycle of revenue crises, and it’s getting worse despite our growing economy. As a result, Washington falls far short of raising adequate revenue to fund our basic needs, such as public education, senior services, early learning, mental health services, colleges, and many other critical services essential to our economic growth and prosperity.

Washington’s wealthiest residents pay only 2.4% of their total income in state taxes. Middle-class families pay four times that rate, while low-income families pay seven times that rate, with a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Last year, five of our biggest industries combined — aerospace, high-tech, agriculture, timber and mining – contributed only 4% of all the B&O taxes collected while Washington’s smaller businesses were responsible for paying the rest.

The House budget takes a step in the right direction by making sure our wealthiest residents are held responsible for their fair share through a capital gains tax, and by increasing accountability through closing tax breaks for large profitable corporations. We are also encouraged that the House continues to work on including the Carbon Pollution Accountability Act in the budget moving forward. This polluters-pay solution should be part of a fair revenue package.

We urge Washington’s legislators to adopt a budget that raises sufficient revenues to meet our residents’ needs and move our tax system in a more fair direction, including capital gains taxes, price on carbon, and closing corporate tax loopholes.”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2015

Contact: Reiny Cohen

206-251-4083rcohen@fairwarevenue.org

www.fairwarevenue.org

More Than 100 WA Groups Calling on Legislators to Pass Fair Revenue Solutions

Legislator Town Halls Scheduled For This Weekend

Seattle, WA —   Washington United for Fair Revenue, a coalition of more than 100 organizations representing diverse interests around the state is urging legislators to find fair, accountable, and shared revenue solutions to Washington’s revenue crisis.

Washington United for Fair Revenue’s more than 100 participants include regional and statewide groups such as AARP Washington, American Academy of Pediatricians, Children’s Alliance, Head Start, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Eldercare Alliance, Washington Environmental Council, State Fire Fighters Council, State Nurses Association, and the WA Parent Teacher Association.

Our state has the most unfair revenue system in the nation, with the wealthiest paying the lowest percentage of their income in state taxes, while the poorest pay the highest percentage of their income in state taxes, according to the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy. As a result, we do not generate enough revenue to support basic services to the public, such as education, health care, senior services, mental health care and public safety.

“We are calling on our state legislature to pass revenue solutions that are fair, accountable and shared,” said Reiny Cohen, spokesperson for Washington United for Fair Revenue. “All Washingtonians should share in the prosperity that results from our hard work.”

Washington United for Fair Revenue is encouraging the public to attend one of many legislator town halls this weekend and raise the fair revenue issue with their elected officials.

Lynn Emerson, a board-certified special education teacher in Woodinville, plans to attend the town hall meeting in her district. She says, “Thanks to round after round of state budget cuts, I’ve been forced to do more with less. With six grade levels of kids with special needs to teach, I simply don’t have the time or resources to give my students the attention and education they deserve.”

“After years of recession and over $12 billion in service cuts, it is time to re-invest in our future,” said Cohen. “Our legislators are finalizing a budget that will affect everyone from preschoolers to seniors. That is why we are urging citizens all across Washington to attend their town hall meetings and join in the fight for fair, accountable and shared revenue solutions.”

An updated list of town halls around the state can be found here: http://fairwarevenue.org/town-halls/

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 17, 2015

Contact: Reiny Cohen

206-251-4083, rcohen@fairwarevenue.org

www.fairWArevenue.org

Radio ad from big business PAC misleads public 

Woodinville special ed teacher responds with video

Olympia, WA: In a new radio ad, a big business PAC is misleading the public about our state’s failing revenue system, and about its own true interests. So, a special education teacher from Woodinville, along with WA United for Fair Revenue, are responding with their own video message to “do the math.”

“I teach 38 students, when I only have capacity for 24,” says special education teacher Lynn Emerson.  “The district cannot provide me with the proper education materials to meet my students’ needs. And I pay $1,000 a year of my own money to provide my students with basic learning tools such as paper, pencils, and binders.” Emerson has released a video explaining the math behind Washington’s revenue crisis.

“We may be home to many of the world’s wealthiest people and most profitable corporations, but Washington is failing to fund basic responsibilities to the people,” said Reiny Cohen, spokesperson for WA United For Fair Revenue. WA United for Fair Revenue is a coalition of more than 50 organizations, including nurses, teachers, public safety and health care providers, fighting for fair, accountable and shared revenue sources.

Recover Washington’s radio ad says it is a “coalition of small businesses from every community in our state.” But their own membership lists and WA Public Disclosure Commission records show Recover Washington PAC is mainly funded by big business interests including the Association for Washington Business (AWB), WA Bankers Association, commercial real estate developers and insurance corporations. (The PAC has not declared any new funding since August 2013; its ads began airing earlier this month.)

The big business PAC appears poised to defend lucrative tax loopholes for large profitable aerospace, high tech, and agribusiness corporations. Washington is the worst state in the nation when it comes to tax fairness because large corporations and the very wealthy do not pay their fair share.

No matter how you slice it, state revenues will fall far short of the amount needed to fund court-mandated improvements to schools in Washington State without doing irreparable damage to health care, child care, services for the elderly and disabled, safe communities, higher education, and other investments that help build a strong state economy for all Washingtonians.

“Some of our state legislators argue that we can fund our obligations with the money we already have,” said Mrs. Emerson. “They’ve forgotten their basic elementary math skills. So I made this video to remind them how simple the math is.”

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