- Policy Priorities
- Resources & Tools
- Schmudget Blog
- About Us
- News & Events
- Get Involved
A new report released yesterday shows that income inequality not only remains a problem in Washington state – it is getting worse. From 2009 to 2012, all of the income gains experienced in the economic recovery have gone to the richest 1 percent of Washingtonians.
Washington is one of 16 states where income gains flowed entirely to the top 1 percent, while the bottom 99 percent experienced income declines. The result is a lopsided national and state economy, where the average income of the richest 1 percent ($1.2 million) is 27 times greater than the average income of the entire bottom 99 percent combined ($47,500).
Income inequality remains historically high, surpassing levels experienced before the Great Depression, and approaching levels seen prior to the Great Recession. If we haven’t learned our lesson yet, it’s high time – our economy cannot sustain itself when such a small share of Washingtonians benefit from the economic activity they work so hard to create.
These latest numbers arrive on the heels of a report last week finding that, more than any other state, Washington state’s tax system exacerbates rising income inequality – taking a much larger bite out of family budgets among people with lower and middle incomes than those at the very top of the income scale.
The good news is we can start changing it. Policymakers have multiple opportunities before them to reverse this damaging trend during the current session: