State Revenue

Property Tax image

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

Washington State’s 1930s Tax System Doesn’t Work In A 21st Century Economy

Washington state tax revenues are projected to be slightly higher in the coming years than previously forecasted, but total resources will continue to fall far short of the amount needed for a strong economy. Fixing Washington state’s antiquated 1930s tax system is the only way to ensure our children receive a state-of-the-art education, and that our state remains an attractive place to do business in a 21st century economy.

Also in this section

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!
 
Out Now: Latest Issue of Revenue Trends
 
Washington State’s 1930s Tax System Doesn’t Work In A 21st Century Economy
Washington state tax revenues are projected to be slightly higher in the coming years than previously forecasted, but total resources will continue to fall far short of the amount needed for a strong economy. Fixing Washington state’s antiquated 1930s tax system is the only way to ensure our children receive a state-of-the-art education, and that our state remains an attractive place to do business in a 21st century economy.
Revenue Forecast Shows Full Recovery Will Remain Out Of Reach Without Reforms
 
Document Actions
HIGHLIGHTS

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

Inside Olympia

Executive Director Remy Trupin appeared on TVW's "Inside Olympia" to discuss the budget, revenue options, and the impact of the McCleary decision going forward. The whole interview can be found here. 

Remy TVW -March 14


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


Save the date for this year's conference: Friday, December 12th, 2014 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.