Hunger News and Trends

Tax Day Call-in to Support State Tax Reform

At Food Lifeline, we see every day why support from local, state, and federal government is so important for the hungry people we serve. This year we’ve been fighting to maintain and increase funding for important hunger relief programs in Olympia. We’re also trying to change our state’s current revenue system which continues to harm those working hardest to stay on their feet.

In Washington, the wealthiest pay only 2.4% of their income in state taxes, while those with the lowest incomes pay up to 17% in state taxes.

A number of specific proposals have been put on the table, with House Bill 2224 as the primary vehicle for moving these ideas forward. The bill includes $1.5 billion in new revenue by closing wasteful tax breaks, modifying B & O tax rates to be more equitable including decreases for small businesses, and implementing a modest capital gains excise tax. The Washington State Budget and Policy Center has a full analysis on their blog.

With Tax Day fast approaching, we’re asking you, along with your neighbors from across the state, to call your legislators and let them know that you’re ready for new fair and accountable revenue sources to support critical services like funding for food banks.

Ready to make the call?

You can easily call your legislators (find out who they are here!) through the legislative hotline 1-800-562-6000 and tell them:

“I pay my fair share in taxes. It’s time to make sure the wealthiest in Washington pay their fair share too. Support HB 2224, the House fair revenue package.”

Not used to talking to your elected officials? Try calling after 5pm and leaving a message. Get your message across without the nerves.

Tax Reform Summit

A few weeks ago Food Lifeline’s Policy and Research Coordinator, Katharine Ryan, had the opportunity to attend a summit in Olympia to discuss the importance of increasing revenue in fair and sustainable ways. Sponsored by Washington United for Fair Revenue, the summit included speakers who provided a number of perspectives in why additional revenue is so important and how to make it happen.

Some highlights of the summit:

  • David Schumacher, Director of the Office of Financial Management (the Governor’s budget department), talked about the fact that a budget can be balanced at any dollar amount, the key is what you get for it.  After billions of dollars in cuts to human services during the recession, there is just not enough money coming in to provide for basic needs for our neighbors.
  • Ben Henry, from the Alliance for a Just Society explained, a rising tide might lift all boats, but we need to start out by making sure everyone has a boat to get in.
  • Eden Mack, representing the Washington State PTA shared that in their legislative priorities; they specifically said that the much needed additional funding for education should not come from cuts to human services and the safety net.

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