Schmudget Blog

Why the Working Families Tax Rebate would work for Washington

Posted by Lori Pfingst at Dec 01, 2011 06:50 PM |

The Working Families Tax Rebate (WFTR) is one of the most effective tools for lifting families out of poverty. And under our current revenue system, it is the only tool Washington has for reducing taxes for low income Washingtonians.

To protect essential public structures in the short-run, it is critical that policymakers raise additional revenues quickly. However, within Washington’s current tax system there are few ways to raise progressive sources of revenue.

The way to raise revenue in the short-term is to increase the sales tax by a modest amount. As we outlined yesterday, there are several advantages to raising the sales tax. Aside from being able to quickly and easily raise revenue, pairing the sales tax increase with full funding for the WFTR would more than offset the costs to lower-and moderate-income families in Washington.

The WFTR is one of the most powerful tools to promote economic security:

  • It is modeled on the highly successful federal Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the most effective policies for lifting families out of poverty;
  • It benefits families with children, who have the highest rates of poverty compared to other age groups;
  • It makes the tax system more equitable by offsetting the impact of tax increases on low income families; and
  • A large share of Washington’s low income population – at least 400,000 families – will qualify.

The WFTR does not fix all of the problems with our inadequate and broken tax system, but it is the only tool we currently have to reduce taxes for low income families.

The Budget & Policy Center has long championed reforms that will make Washington’s revenue system adequate, sustainable, and fair. Until those reforms are put in place, the sales tax increase coupled with fully funding the  WFTR are a good solution for raising revenue in the short-term and protecting public investments that will ignite our economy and improve outcomes for Washington’s children and families.

Read more about the Working Families Tax Rebate here

Document Actions

We’re hiring!

We currently have two opportunities available to join the Budget & Policy Center’s awesome team. Find out more about our policy analyst position and the Betty Jane Narver fellowship.

Join us for Budget Beat

Learn about the pros and cons of the final supplemental state budget. Sign up for our Budget Beat webinar, "Legislative Session 2018 Wrap-up," featuring our policy experts Kelli Smith, Andy Nicholas, and Julie Watts.

Friday, March 16, 12 – 12:30 p.m.

Sign up today

Our policy priorities

Washington state should be a place where all our residents have strong communities, great schools, and the chance for a bright future. Our 2017-2019 Legislative Agenda outlines the priorities we are working to advance to build a better Washington.

Testimonies in Olympia

Misha TVW
We're in Olympia throughout the 2018 legislative session to testify in support of bills that advance our legislative priorities. Watch our testimonies on TVW:

Our Seattle Policy Summit

You can watch our Budget Matters 2017 Seattle Policy Summit, which took place on December 6, online. The first part of the day (watch herefeatured Washington State Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib and Race Forward President Glenn Harris. The second part of the day (watch here) featured Budget & Policy Center Senior Policy Analyst Jennifer Tran, and a panel of local leaders moderated by Michael Brown of the Seattle Foundation.