Nearly 25 community and faith leaders, service providers, individuals, and advocates have registered their support for full funding of the Working Families Tax Rebate (WFTR), an important tool that would boost the incomes of nearly 1.4 million Washingtonians, including 624,000 children.
In a letter to House budget writers, supporters outline the ways the WFTR is a great complement to a wide array of policies and an important tool to:
• Reduce taxes for 400,000 hardworking households: Washington state has the most upside-down tax system in the nation. People with low incomes pay seven times more taxes as a share of income than the richest 1 percent. Funding the WFTR would reduce taxes for over 400,000 hardworking households in Washington state.
• Improve the equity of our tax system: The WFTR would help to offset the regressivity of the state sales tax and is an essential component of any revenue system. It would be an especially useful tool to mitigate the impact of an increase in the gas tax or ensure communities with low incomes are not disproportionately affected by a carbon-pricing program – two revenue options currently being considered by the Legislature.
• Keep children and families out of poverty: Washington state is one of three states where poverty is increasing. In 2011, the federal EITC kept more than 116,000 children and families out of poverty in Washington state and is the most effective anti-poverty tool we have for kids and families. Funding the WFTR could build on these benefits.
• Help families transition to a low-carbon economy: 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 negative impacts of climate disruption. Fully funding the WFTR would ensure that in our efforts to confront climate change, we are also creating an inclusive 21st century economy.
• Help families meet needs while boosting local economies: Studies show that every dollar in EITC results in $1.50 in local economic activity as recipients tend to spend the funds on immediate needs such as home and car repairs, clothing for children, appliances, and catching up on past-due bills. Funding the WFTR would add $100 million to local economies.