Progressive Revenue and the Budget Crisis

Jen Pack

Washington State’s tax system has consistently been rated the #1 most regressive and least equitable in the nation. ( “While income taxes make it relatively easy for people to estimate how much they are paying, sales and excise taxes tend to be paid in small amounts from day to day, obscuring an individual’s total tax bill.” -From TRU Revenue Options Report.

As our city confronts a significant $200 million deficit, we understand the urgency of finding viable solutions without sacrificing the welfare of our residents. We should not be raising revenue via property taxes, which are regressive and overly burden those who have little to give; instead, prioritize fairness and equity by ensuring that the tax burden is shared and our city can thrive.

First, let’s make sure we are spending our money wisely with what we already have. Taking a fine-toothed comb through the city budget to ensure money is being spent on effective programs is a priority, and while we won’t find $200 million dollars to spare in the budget, trimming some inefficiencies will lower the amount of revenue that needs to be raised.

It’s been well documented by two Progressive Revenue Task Forces since 2017: We must be more active in pursuing all the options at the table. Whether it is an estate tax, a vacancy tax, a rental income tax, or just flat out increasing JumpStart—we must raise more to serve the residents who make our communities work.