The path to a thriving state economy begins by ensuring we have a just and inclusive society in which everyone can participate and reach their full potential.
Our 2020 legislative agenda outlines our priorities for building prosperity and advancing equity. Our top priorities are:
- Modernizing and expanding the Working Families Tax Credit to boost the incomes of approximately one million Washington households.
- Supporting families in meeting basic needs by restoring funding for WorkFirst/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and fixing policies that are harming children and families who are homeless and dealing with mental health challenges
- Putting all young children on a path to a bright future by laying the groundwork for creating a Child Savings Account program in Washington.
- Investing in affordable, high-quality early learning by supporting the workforce, addressing infrastructure needs, and expanding access to Working Connections Child Care and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program.
- Closing the tax break on capital gains to balance the tax code and ensure the wealthiest pay their share.
2020 legislative session updates
We are pleased to report that during the 2020 legislative session, the Budget & Policy Center and our many partner organizations helped make progress on three of our top priorities. Specifically, lawmakers:
- Funded a Child Savings Account program study. The study will explore design options and develop an implementation plan to establish Child Savings Accounts at birth for every child born in Washington state.
- Took steps to reverse harmful cuts to WorkFirst/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) by beginning to ease harsh sanction policies and allowing families where a child is homeless to access a time limit extension. They also boosted monthly income for some WorkFirst/TANF recipient families by reinstating the child support pass-through, which allows families to retain a portion of child support payments made on their behalf.
- Invested in early learning by increasing rates for Early Childhood Education Assistance Program and Working Connections Child Care providers, which will help families find care and help early learning professionals make ends meet. The legislature also expanded eligibility for financial assistance to more families and they invested in dual-language learning.
It is disappointing, however, that policymakers didn’t remove the tax break on capital gains or enact a modern, inclusive Working Families Tax Credit. A capital gains tax is an effective way to generate a billion dollars a year of much-needed revenue that can be used to replenish our rainy day fund. And the Working Families Tax Credit can offer both income security and a boost to local economies by providing cash to eligible people. We will continue to push for these policies in any special sessions that may occur as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and into the 2021 legislative session.