The importance of funding the Working Families Tax Rebate (WFTR), a Washington state version of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), should not be overlooked. As one of the many new investments for communities with lower incomes included in Governor Inslee’s proposals to reduce carbon pollution, the benefits of the WFTR would be widespread throughout Washington state, but would be most pronounced in rural communities and communities of color (see map below).
Going forward, it is critical that policymakers ensure all Washingtonians are able to thrive in the low-carbon economy of the future. Without investments like the WFTR, people with lower incomes will continue to shoulder growing economic and health costs associated with climate change. And, they be will not be able to afford the clean energy infrastructure needed to reduce their consumption of costly, carbon-intensive gasoline and electricity sources.
Governor Inslee proposes to fund the WFTR, which was enacted in 2008, but never funded, at 10 percent of the federal EITC. This would result in tax rebates of up to $624 per year for more than 435,000 households with lower incomes. The map below displays the number and share of households eligible to receive the WFTR, the average WFTR per household, and the total amount of WFTR and EITC dollars that would be distributed to each legislative district in Washington state (1). Click here for a printable listing by legislative district.
We support the governor’s proposal. It is a bold step toward building a healthy environment and an economy that works for all Washingtonians and a good start to a much needed conversation around climate change. As members of the state legislature examine his proposal in the coming year, legislators must consider increasing the WFTR to as much as 30 percent of the federal EITC to ensure that no is left behind as Washingtonians transition to the low-carbon economy of the future.
(1) Share of households eligible refers to share of households filing a federal tax return and claiming the EITC and therefore eligible to receive the WFTR.