Washington United for Fair Revenue Statement of Principles
Our state’s economy is growing, unemployment rates are down, and the stock market is skyrocketing. Despite our growing economy, we have a state budget that is insufficient for supporting essential services. We are all affected by a half-decade of cutbacks in important services. Millions of Washingtonians are forced to delay retirement, send children to overcrowded classrooms, sit on long waiting lists for health services, and pay more for everything from college tuition to visiting our State Parks with their families.
Washington State’s archaic revenue system is considered the most “unfair” in the nation. Those with the most pay less than their fair share, while the rest of us pay more. It has created a different set of rules for a powerful few who obstruct sensible changes that could make the system more accountable to the people. Not only is this unfair, it isn’t practical. Our inadequate and unreliable revenue system weakens our communities by forcing cuts in vital services that affect everyone’s quality of life, such as help for at-risk children and people with mental illness, infrastructure and transportation improvements, and funding for our schools. A fair, accountable and shared revenue system makes our economy more resilient, promotes economic growth and competition, and creates opportunities for all Washingtonians.
Accordingly, we the undersigned, believe:
Washington State’s revenue system is unfair. We need fair, accountable and shared revenue sources that are stable and sufficient.
Fair revenue sources and ensure that everyone pays her or his share. Fair revenue sources do not worsen Washington State’s disproportionate tax responsibilities on small businesses and hard-working Washingtonians, including a disproportionate share from communities of color.
Accountable revenue sources are transparent, hold everyone to the same rules, and are enforceable and open to public scrutiny. Accountable revenue sources do not allow a select few to exploit loopholes, hide behind exemptions, and gain unfair advantages at the expense of others.
Shared means both shared responsibility, where everyone pays their fair share according to their ability, and shared prosperity, with the goal of greater opportunity and financial security for all the people of Washington State. Shared revenue sources recognize that we are all in this together, with no one group singled out to enjoy unfair special benefits or bear disproportionate responsibility.
Stable, sufficient revenue systems generate the resources needed for investments that promote shared prosperity. Stable and sufficient revenues maintain these investments through good and bad economic times.