State Revenue

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After the worst recession of our lifetime, rebuilding Washington state’s economy must be policymakers first priority. To build a strong state, we need reforms that will create a more robust and stable revenue system that is able to meet the demands of the 21st century economy.

Washington state’s revenue system is:

  • Behind the times. Our state revenue system hasn’t substantially changed since 1935. Seventy-seven years ago Washington state’s economy was based on agriculture, manufacturing, and purchases of tangible goods. Today our state produces advanced software and other high-tech goods and services that weren’t even imagined in the 1930s.
  • Losing pace. Just 40 years ago, our revenue system generated 6.9 cents of every dollar of personal income produced in the state. Today it generates only 4.9 cents per dollar of personal income. That’s a 30 percent decline that won’t abate without changes.
  • Upside-down. State taxes take a much larger bite out of family incomes among lower- and middle-income households compared to the richest households. As a share of their incomes, ordinary Washingtonians can pay up to eight times more in state and local taxes than those at the top of the income scale.

Instead of de-funding our values with deep budget cuts, Washington state lawmakers should focus on making changes to our revenue system that will rebuild the economy to work for everyone.

Related Research

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New Revenue Would Be Needed to Fund Class Size Initiative
Testimony: Boeing Should Guarantee Good Jobs and Investment in Washington State in Exchange For Massive Tax Breaks
Updated Revenue Forecast Shows New Resources Needed To Fully Fund Education
Amicus Brief to State Supreme Court: New Revenue Needed to Meet McCleary Requirements
State Tax Resources to Fall Critically Short of Current Needs
Statement on McCleary Order: New Revenue Needed For Better Outcomes for Kids
Flawed Economic Model Hurts Washington State
State-to-State Migration is Driven by Jobs, Climate, and Family. Not Taxes.
Tax Day Infographic: Shared Investments
Senate’s Proposed Tax Breaks Would Cost Big In The Long Run
Corporate Tax Dodge Findings Show Need for Reforms in Washington State
Reality Bites: Revenue Forecast Shows Economic Growth Won’t Fund Basic Education Reforms
Improved Tax Break Accountability Starts With Better Data
Governor’s Proposal to Fund Basic Education is Realistic and Necessary
Tax Break Transparency Bill Is a Small Step in the Right Direction
Let The Sun Set On An Ineffective Tax Break For High-Tech Businesses
While Stocks Soar, State Revenues Barely Flutter
Washingtonians Need Assurances that Boeing Jobs Will Stay Here
Overview of Proposed Boeing Tax Breaks and Accountability Measures
Reclaiming Prosperity Series: Subsides, Loopholes, and Transparency – Oh My!
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Budget Matters 2014

We are excited to announce this year’s Budget Matters 2014 Conference Program! We look forward to seeing you at the Washington State Convention Center on December 12, 2014.  See our detailed program with confirmed speakers here.

Legislative Testimony

Senior Budget Analyst Kim Justice recently testified before Senate Ways and Means against a bill that would fund education at the expense of other budget investments. Watch it here. 

Kim 5881

Budget Matters 2013

More than 300 people -- advocates, students, lawmakers, and policy experts joined us for our second annual policy conference. We heard from Heather McGhee, Jared Bernstein, and Governor Inslee.

Click here for video clips, photos, and PowerPoint presentations from the break-out sessions.

Our new video has highlights from the day. 

Heather McGhee