Solid Ground Advisory Council member Peter Zimmerman had more than his Warholian share of fame this week, garnering coverage on radio, TV and the web as a representative of the Rebuilding Our Economic Future Coalition.
Kudos to Peter for keeping his cool under the media glare and delivering 20,000 signatures to Governor Gregoire and our lawmakers, calling on revenue enhancements to help save Washington’s fiscal bacon without taking it all out on cuts to the programs that serve hardworking low-income folks.
You can read all about it on this post at our good friends Hella Bus, the blog o’ Washington Bus.
KUOW 94.9 in Seattle carried this story about the movement to increase revenue in the state.
Peter will be reporting in a future post here about his experiences lobbying in Olympia this coming week!
Need to raise $1.7 billion in revenue
Advocates should be loud and assertive about the need to raise revenues. Gov. Gregoire has said she would raise only $770 million of the $2.6 billion deficit. The rest will be cuts to essential services, including Basic Health, Apple Health for kids and General Assistance for people with disabilities.
We need to reverse that ratio and raise 2/3 in revenue, with 1/3 in cuts. We need to raise $1.7 billion. The amount of the revenue goal will determine what kind of revenues are considered. Raising the tobacco tax raises $88 million. A 5-cent tax on a can of soda raises “only” $94 million. Taxing candy and gum gets us a measly $30 million. Each of these brings in 120th or less of the goal.
It would be less painful to vote for a few large taxes than for many small ones. Extending the sales tax to all services, not just professional services, would do the most to fill the deficit gap. It would also be, in effect, a progressive tax, since low-income people tend to hire few lawyers, accountants and financial advisers. I’ll be most moderate-income people would rather pay sales tax on haircuts and nails, rather than see 85,000 people lost Basic Health plans.
Raising the sales tax is the wrong move. We are officially the most regressive state in the country, with our poorest paying 17% of the income in taxes, while the wealthiest pay only 3%. Any tax solution must address this moral wrong. Extending the sales tax to all services is a move in the right direction.
janice tufte says
You have accomplished so much in the area of advocacy with your relentless drive and dedicated energy. I am honored to know you! Keep up the great work!