Carbon Program Revenues Should Invest in Working Families Tax Rebate
Our policy analyst, Elena Hernandez, testified yesterday before the House Appropriations Committee in support of the Carbon Accountability Act (HB 1314). This act would put a cap on carbon pollution and require polluters to purchase carbon allowances (permits), catalyzing an economic shift toward a low-carbon economy while generating over $1 billion in new revenue for Washington state. Elena's testimony focused specifically on the Working Families Tax Rebate (WFTR), one of several investments included in the carbon bill that would help communities with lower incomes.
Transitioning to a low-carbon economy is essential for the future well-being of all Washingtonians, but the effects of this transition will not be felt equally. Communities with lower incomes – a disproportionate number of whom are people of color – are the first and worst hit by both the health and economic effects of carbon pollution. They are also the least equipped to adapt to the low-carbon economy of the future. Fully funding the Working Families Tax Rebate is a step toward ensuring that in our efforts to confront climate change, we are also creating an inclusive 21st century economy.
The WFTR is Washington state's version of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The benefits of the federal EITC cut across a wide array of issues, from improving equity in the tax system to reducing poverty to improving educational outcomes for kids. Policymakers can supplement the benefits of the federal EITC by funding the WFTR – which was passed in 2008, but never funded. Twenty-four states across the nation have already taken this step.
To learn more about the Working Families Tax Rebate and its benefits, read our newly updated primer. To see how much a qualifying family can receive, take a look at the calculator below: