Follow the Money... See where your tax dollars are really going!
Our poor and middle class are suffering from the worst economy since the Great Depression. The Economic Crisis was created by wealthy reckless and irresponsible corporations who are now making record profits from obscene State and federal corporate tax breaks. The paramount duty of our State legislature should be to fully fund public schools. Rolling back corporate tax breaks would not only meet this Constitutional Duty but also ignite the economy, put people back to work, preserve opportunities to access high quality affordable education and build thriving prosperous local communities by reducing the tax burden on the poor, middle class and small businesses.
We need an adequate, sustainable, and fair tax system to make restore national average school funding and create public and private sector jobs. We can restore this system by repealing all corporate tax exemptions passed since 1996. This would also create a fair and level playing field as wealthy corporations would have to pay the same tax rates as local small businesses.
Our families, our small businesses, our communities and our State are facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Currently nearly one million people are out of work in our State. Hundreds of thousands have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits. Over one million people lack adequate health care - including hundreds of thousands of children. Tens of thousands of homeowners are behind on their payments and about to lose their homes.
Even those who still have their jobs are suffering. Heath care costs have tripled due to deregulation of HMO’s. Heating costs have tripled due to deregulation of electric companies. Transportation costs have doubled due to deregulation of oil companies. Housing costs have doubled due to deregulation of banks. While corporate profits have skyrocketed, middle class wages have fallen to the point where middle class families – even those with full time jobs – can no longer make ends meet and are forced to take out ever increasing debt just to make their monthly payments.
The future of one million children has been placed at risk by forcing them to attend the most under-funded and overcrowded schools in America. Over 100,000 children are spending their school days in particle board boxes. Half the public schools in our State do not even meet safe drinking water standards. Our school infra-structure has been so badly under-funded in the past 10 years that we now face a $10 billion dollar school construction and repair backlog. This includes the State’s failure to help us build an urgently needed high school in North Bend – the first time in the 100 year history of our State that the legislature refused to help a community build a high school.
Meanwhile tax breaks for millionaires have skyrocketed during the past 10 years to $50 billion dollars per year. A national study of the tax systems in all 50 States concluded that Washington State has the most unfair tax system in the nation. Our middle class and small businesses pay some of the highest State taxes in the nation. Meanwhile, millionaires and major corporations pay some of the lowest State taxes in the nation. Our children must suffer from grossly under-funded schools and the disabled must do without adequate health care just so millionaires can buy bigger boats. As a result of tax breaks for the rich, the gap between the rich and everyone else is greater than at any time since 1929. The richest one percent now own more than the bottom 90%.
We need to address the real cause of our nation’s economic collapse if we are ever going to restore economic prosperity. The corporate controlled media has blamed the collapse on the middle class over-extending their credit. But the media ignores what forced our middle class to over extend their credit. The truth is that our current economic crisis is really due to a war waged by greedy corporate executives against our middle class during the past ten years. Huge price increases in everything from health care to electricity were made possible by corrupt politicians being paid off by corporate lobbyists who arranged the deregulation of banks, oil companies and health insurance middle men. When the financial burden on our middle class became too great, they suddenly could no longer pay their bills and they suddenly stopped buying.
The bankrupting of our middle class economic engine led to a rapid rise in unemployment which led us to where we are today. With a half million people out of work and no hope for even getting a job. So what really caused our economic crisis was the failure of our State and national governments to regulate the greed of major corporations. This recession is not the fault of our middle class. It is the fault of political corruption on a monumental scale.
Both parties argued that giving corporations whatever they wanted was good for the economy because the benefits would somehow “trickle down” to everyone else. As one Boeing lobbyist put it, big business learned how to turn the government into a “CASH COW.”
But Trickle Down Economics was simply corporate welfare on a massive scale. Instead of being good for the economy, because it bankrupted our middle class, it destroyed our economy. Tax breaks for millionaires were irresponsible. For every billion dollars in tax breaks we give millionaires, we take a billion dollars out of the economy and we lose 10,000 to 20,000 jobs. Requiring wealthy corporations to pay their fair share of State taxes will provide over 100,000 new jobs. This is the whole idea behind bottom up economics. It is not about the redistribution of wealth, but the fair distribution of wealth.
We hope you will support the Fair School Funding Act. Instead of cutting health care for kids, let’s cut welfare programs for millionaires. Instead of closing public schools, let’s close this tax loophole for wealthy corporations.
Rather than adding yet another financial burden to the poor and middle class, we should require those who are currently not paying their fair share of State taxes to contribute to solving the State’s financial problems. Instead of cutting important social programs, let’s start cutting tax breaks for billionaires.
There is a better alternative. All we need to do is roll back tax breaks to what they were in 1996. This would generate about $10 billion per year which would allow us to not only save the jobs of thousands of teachers, but actually hire back teachers and restore school funding in our State to the national average – as well as cut the unfair State Sales tax in half.
Cut Essential Programs and Raise Taxes on the Poor and Middle Class – OR Cut Tax breaks for wealthy corporations? That is the simple choice our legislature must make.
End Unfair Tax Giveaways
Special tax expenditures cost Washingtonians billions of dollars every year. That’s money that should be going healthcare, education and other essential public services.
David Spring M.Ed. Director, Fair School Funding Coalition.org
David Spring is the Director of the Fair School Funding Coalition, a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization dedicated to restoring school funding to the national average.
Our websites include fairschoolfundingcoalition.org, realwashingtonbudget.info and coalitiontocreatejobsnow.org. For more information about how to restore school funding and rebuild our economy, please visit the above websites.