Waterville, WA: Today a trial court judge in conservative Douglas County ruled against a publicly popular capital gains tax on the wealthiest Washingtonians’ extraordinary stock market profits.
Treasure Mackley, Executive Director of Invest Washington Now, says: “By siding with a tiny number of extremely wealthy residents, the lower court is ignoring widespread public support for helping working families find childcare and providing children with the education they need to succeed in life. Washingtonians also strongly support making the super rich pay their fair share in state taxes because our state is the nation’s worst when it comes to tax fairness – those with the most money pay the least, while those with the least money pay the most. ”
In poll after poll, voters nationwide want the super-rich to pay their fair share of taxes (Impact Research) and Washingtonians support the capital gains tax of 7% on extraordinary stock market profits greater than $250,000(King 5/Survey USA, Topos, GBAO, PPP, GBAO). Only 0.2% of Washington taxpayers see enough profits to pay this tax. Sales of real estate, retirement assets, small businesses, and farms are exempted.
Parents, teachers, and a school district (intervenors), along with Eastern Washington small business owners and community leaders (amicus), argued that the $500 million per year raised by the capital gains tax is critical funding for much needed childcare, special education services, school construction and repairs, and early learning programs.
Mrs. Mary Ann Warren, former President of the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce: “I believe in paying my share in taxes because government spending creates more jobs and more spending at businesses, growing local economies and helping all communities. I’ve seen firsthand how helping parents and children get the help they need to succeed in school and life can improve the lives of entire families.”
Meliesa Tigard, small business owner in Wenatchee: “The capital gains tax is a much-needed improvement in Washington’s tax code because those of us who are doing well are beneficiaries of our public education system, either directly or indirectly. It will assist Wenatchee parents who cannot afford to work because they cannot find affordable childcare.”
Kristin Cameron, Wenatchee Confluence Rotary member: “I believe very wealthy Washingtonians have a responsibility to pay back the communities and public systems that helped them succeed so that others may follow. I’ve seen firsthand how the growing funding gap for schools directly impacts education and health outcomes for students. For example, the Wenatchee School District currently has state funding for just one school nurse to protect the health and learning environments of almost 8,000 students.”
Tammy Grubb, an English teacher at Eastmont Junior High School in Wenatchee: “By protecting hundreds of millions in education funding, we are protecting money needed to fix leaky pipes, replace failing HVAC systems, and repair broken equipment in our schools. I’m retiring in the next few years, and before I go I want to make sure all Eastmont students have access to the education they need to succeed as adults and community members.”
Dr. Katherine Baird, economist at the University of Washington – Tacoma: “When those with less money spend less, the economic effect is multiplied. A laid-off social worker has less income, which via her lower spending, translates into less income elsewhere. It is why in a recent New York Times op-ed, Kitty Richards and Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimate that each dollar in state cuts leads to $1.50 to $2.50 less in state income.”
Many more 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 we need to get more money into the wallets of consumers to avoid another long recession.
“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
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.
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.”
Invest in WA Now is a movement of educators, working families, and everyday Washingtonians advocating for progressive revenue solutions. We believe that the best way to support families and businesses during the COVID- 19 crisis is to keep money flowing to our communities, invest in people, and ask the wealthy few and profitable corporations to do their part. Together, we can build a Washington that works for all of us.