29. March 2024 · Comments Off on Invest in Washington Now – March 29, 2024 · Categories: Announcements

March 29, 2024


In this issue: 

  • The cost of repealing state laws on climate, health and capital gains 
  • Progress made, but far more to do for kids 
  • Hey, Eastern WA: Take the money from King County millionaires and run 
  • Tax the rich, save the world. It is that simple.
  • U.S. Billionaire Wealth Is Up 88% Since the Pandemic—Now Topping $5.5 Trillion

It’s seven months before our November ballots arrive, but lots of folks are talking now about what will be up for our votes. I-2109, for one, is getting lots of (negative) attention because it will take more than $5 billion away from education and childcare, directly impacting millions of families and students. 

What’s missing in much of the coverage is who will score big from I-2109’s rollback of our state’s capital gains tax: mega-millionaires and billionaires who make huge gains from selling stocks and other assets. How many Washingtonians would you say paid the capital gains tax for 2023? 100,000? 50,000?

The truth is fewer than 4,000 people saw big enough windfalls to pay the 7% tax on stock profits bigger than $250,000. And those super-rich will be able to take away even more money needed for our schools, young children, and more if I-2109 passes. 

Since 2020, 5 billionaires have doubled their wealth, while 5 billion of the poorest people in this world got even poorer. I-2109 would make that wealth gap even bigger by allowing the 12 known billionaires in Washington to keep even more funds that should go to Washington’s communities.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In Washington we’re fighting back. Want to find out what you can do to help defeat I-2109? Join our Rapid Response Team now. 

-Treasure


“The Legislature has never forwarded three initiatives to the voters in a single year since the state adopted the initiative and referendum process in 1912. But three key initiatives go to the voters in November. 

One affects the future of the state’s climate cap-and-trade law, the second concerns a payroll tax funding long-term care insurance benefits, and the third is about whether Washington should have a capital-gains tax on the richest investors.

Gov. Jay Inslee said: Those initiatives jointly would gut … would kneecap, would blow a hole in all of these benefits Washingtonians are now enjoying.

The capital gains tax produced nearly $900 million this past year. Rolling it back would mean cuts in numerous state programs, many of them essential. Providing the majority ($6 million) of funding for these initiatives is Brian Heywood, a hedge-fund executive who moved here from Arizona.”

More – Jon Talton, Seattle Times

“This year’s 60-day legislative session went by extremely fast. Although the legislative session is now over, a serious threat to our state’s revenue remains in the form of a millionaire-backed initiative to repeal the capital gains tax, revenue from which is a crucial source of funding for early learning and K-12 education. 

We’re determined to do all we can to fight against this attack on our children’s future, but it will be up to voters to decide whether this tax remains in place when it appears on the November ballot.

We need every voice to continue to speak up for a better future for all Washington kids.”

More – Dr. Stephan Blanford, Seattle’s Child

“The reality is that school districts in more rural parts of the state are struggling to advance. They have smaller tax bases than the urban areas, and also more tax-averse voters. But there’s an answer for all this, at least a partial one. You can just take the money from King County and run.

Seriously: This past year, the state’s new capital gains tax on windfall profits from stocks and other assets poured $396 million into school construction projects, the state Department of Revenue reported in January. Many of the school projects given money in the just-ended session of the Legislature were in far-flung districts outside the urban core.

The state also reported the following astonishing figure: 84% of all the capital gains tax money was raised from a single county: King. The 20 counties east of the mountains contributed just 3%, combined.

Schools everywhere can benefit from this — for now. A Republican-backed initiative to repeal the capital gains tax has qualified for the fall ballot. If the tax goes down, the Legislature noted, the school-construction plan would lose a major source of revenue. 

Why would voters do this to themselves? It’s a tax almost entirely on the richest people in one place: King County. Why not hit King County’s millionaires to help defray the costs of your school buildings, Eastern Washington? The money to replace those old portables has to come from somewhere.”

More – Danny Westneat, Seattle Times

“Over the last decade, the richest 1% have captured half of all of the new wealth created, and it is not because they are twice as talented as everyone else in the world. It’s how the system has been designed. Since 2020, 5 billionaires have doubled their wealth, while 5 billion of the poorest people in this world got even poorer. 

You may not care how much money a person has, but you likely do care how much power someone has. When too much money turns into too much power, It threatens us all.

There are no benevolent billionaires. We can and should ask how to tax the rich. We can and should ask how much to tax the rich. But alongside these questions, we must also ask ourselves the most important question of all: What will happen if we don’t tax extreme wealth?

That will not end well for anyone, including millionaires. The single only way to preserve the chance of freedom and democracy, the only way to save this planet and humanity, is to tax extreme wealth before it’s too late. Tax the rich. Save the world. It is that simple.”

More – Erica Payne, Inequality.org

“Four years ago, the United States entered the Covid-19 pandemic. Forbes published its 34th annual billionaire survey shortly after with data keyed to March 18, 2020. On that day, the United States had 614 billionaires who owned a combined wealth of $2.947 trillion.

Four years later, on March 18, 2024, the country has 737 billionaires with a combined wealth of $5.529 trillion, an 87.6 percent increase of $2.58 trillion, according to Institute for Policy Studies calculations of Forbes Real Time Billionaire Data.

In 2020, only one billionaire — Jeff Bezos — had $100 billion or more. Today, the entire top ten are centi-billionaires, bringing their collective wealth to a staggering $1.4 trillion.”

More – Chuck Collins & Omar Ocampo, In These Times


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