Every Washingtonian, no matter their background or where they come from, believes that our economy, our community, and our state is strongest when all of our neighbors are healthy and stable and have the necessities to thrive.
But for the vast majority of Washingtonians, the twin public health and economic crises caused by coronavirus have been destabilizing. The pandemic and ensuing crash only exacerbated the preexisting symptoms of decades of trickle-down economic policies that already left millions of people in the margins - specifically Black, brown, and Indigenous workers, families, and small business owners.
The Washington Recovery Agenda
When people are prosperous and stable and have more to spend in their communities, businesses hire more workers, our economy grows, and people thrive. It’s a virtuous cycle.
But today, Washington’s economy is stuck in a destructive feedback loop. We face unprecedented economic disruption as consumer demand has collapsed in response to the pandemic. Thousands of temporary business closures have become permanent, which means more workers are laid off and fewer people are able to participate in the economy.
Cutting back state and local investments perpetuates this economic downward spiral. Furthermore, this only compounds the suffering for communities who have already faced the brunt of both the pandemic and economic crisis: predominantly Black, brown, and Indigenous families, immigrant and refugee communities, and other communities of color. It’s critical we disrupt this cycle by quickly investing in recovery.
To protect families, save small businesses and grow our economy, our state must increase spending by at least $2.5 billion this biennium from new progressive ongoing revenue sources. This critical investment will disrupt the downward economic spiral and help us grow our way out of this crisis.
An investment by the state of this size will speed our recovery, but it requires new revenue. Federal support, while important, will not provide the ongoing investment necessary for a full recovery and a stronger and more inclusive economy. Thankfully, in Washington we have an untapped resource that offers the perfect solution: the massive, untaxed wealth of super-rich individuals and hugely profitable corporations. Washington has the most upside-down tax code in the nation, where our poorest families pay up to 18% or more of their income in state and local taxes while the households of the super-rich pay 3% or less. It’s time that we asked those who are most well off to do their part to help us meet the challenges of this moment. With these investments, we will all recover quicker, and our state will grow faster and thrive more than anywhere else in the nation.
Everyone in Washington, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or where they live, believes that our economy only thrives when all of us can participate in it. We all need to work together to recover and build a better economy. And the wealthiest among us need to contribute to our shared recovery. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do for our economy.
The Washington Recovery Agenda will put us back on the road to economic growth and create an economy that’s stronger and healthier than it was before. Through new progressive taxes on the state’s wealthiest citizens and most profitable corporations, we can come together to invest at least $2.5 billion this biennium in:
- Increasing direct cash assistance and raising wages to keep people spending in their communities and save jobs, and extending unemployment assistance and other supports to immigrant workers not covered by traditional employment benefits;
- Saving small businesses through direct cash assistance, loans, and other supports;
- Increasing investments in affordable housing, childcare and early education, healthcare, and higher education while reducing costs for families; and
- Preserving and expanding access to basic needs like food security, health care, and COVID testing, so workers and families have the necessities to survive the pandemic.
Additional investments in infrastructure and the maintenance and creation of good-paying jobs through capital and transportation projects must also be a crucial part of restoring our economy to pre-pandemic levels.