Olympia: In a historic move to address the economic harm caused by the pandemic, the WA State Senate voted to tax the super-rich’s extraordinary profits, such as on stock sales.
“Taxing the extraordinary profits of the super rich is an important step in kickstarting Washington state’s economy,” said Treasure Mackley, Executive Director of Invest In Washington Now. “Now more than ever, we must keep money flowing to our state’s people, small businesses, and communities so we can all come back stronger from the pandemic.”
SB 5096, sponsored by Sen. June Robinson, passed 25-24. It now goes to the State House for consideration.
Many in the business community support the new tax. Small business owners and members of the tech industry see how immense wealth is stuck at the top. Struggling small businesses understand that we need to get more money into the wallets of consumers to avoid another long recession after widespread public vaccination.
“The wealthy few are enjoying all the benefits of our great state and it’s past time to demand they pay their fair share,” said Dan Olmstead, CEO of Poverty Bay Coffee Company in Auburn
“I know that there is an argument circulating that this would hurt small businesses, and that just isn’t true,” said Tiffany Turner, co-owner of Adrift Hospitality in Long Beach.
Even people who will likely pay cap gains say they have an obligation to pay their share to help WA recover from the pandemic.
“I will end up paying the tax.…I am doing well personally…It only makes sense for me and people like me to pay our share. Why wouldn’t you tax us?,” said Shaula Massena, a potential capital gains taxpayer from Seattle.
Washingtonians have sent more than 55,000 emails, voicemails and other messages to legislators, through Invest in WA Now alone, supporting taxing the ultra-wealthy, like these recorded messages. Invest in WA Now has also been running ads – video, radio, and digital – since early December.
Washington is the worst in the nation when it comes to our upside down tax system – where the lowest income families pay the biggest share for our state’s hospitals, roads, and schools. Almost every other state in the nation – including Idaho, Montana, and Oregon – taxes capital gains, and are better situated to help their states’ economies recover from this pandemic.
“Washington’s system pits students, patients, and the most vulnerable against each other in a mad budget scramble every year,” said Mackley. “The pandemic has shown us just how vulnerable we all are. Voters and economists agree it’s time for those who’ve done well in Washington to do right by Washington.”
In a December 2020 survey of 500 Washington voters, an overwhelming 76% support increasing taxes specifically on wealthy individuals and corporations. The same number say that “the wealthiest should pitch in a little more in taxes,” with more than half (54%) agreeing strongly with this statement. Full polling memo here.
Invest in Washington Now is a new 501c4 group funded by educators, health care providers, and others through their unions, and other civic organizations.