Progressive leader on housing, health care and education will help bring needed focus to pressing, community-driven reforms to policing and racial bias. Seattle – State Representative Frank Chopp (D-Seattle) is calling for urgent legislative action on a package to address law enforcement training, conduct, and funding. “For many days, Americans across the nation have peacefully … Continued
Public Priorities and Progressive Revenues Plan
A proposal to meet the challenges of today and invest in a better future for all.
In the face of the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, we must develop a path forward to avoid austerity budget cuts now and address the critical needs of the public for the future. The best way forward to economic recovery is to invest in our people. In Washington state, we need to respond to this challenge, by first identifying the clear priorities for targeted investments, and second showing the specific revenue sources to pay for the investments. Progressive revenue will provide funding for critical public purposes and promote fairness in our tax system.
I. Health Equity And Recovery Trust –
the HEART Plan
Urgent public need
With remarkable speed, the Coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on personal and public health and crashed the economy. This unprecedented health and economic crisis caused mass unemployment, intensified underlying social and racial inequities, exposed the underfunding of public health, and devastated our state budgets.
Without significant state funding for foundational public health, investment in the survival of our community agencies, and the prevention of austerity budget cuts, our health and economic recovery will be prolonged. Our public-health system and frontline workforce may not be prepared for a re-emergence of Coronavirus or the next public-health emergency that arises. This crisis affects our entire state and the investments we make should be extended to all residents in need across Washington.
Respond to the pandemic
- Foundational public health, including frontline workforce
- Personal Protective Equipment produced and warehoused in Washington state to end our reliance on haphazard supply lines
- Free testing and contact tracing for the virus
Invest in behavioral health and mental illness treatment
- Expanded treatment for people with, or at risk of behavioral health illnesses; preserve available “psych beds”
- A variety of facilities, including the Behavioral Health Institute, a new Behavioral Health Teaching Hospital (to move patients out of Western State Hospital) and other local programs, to improve access and treatment
- Thousands of new units of supportive housing with treatment services, to provide long-term housing for the chronically homeless
Support community health care across Washington
- Community health clinics, rural hospitals, regional trauma centers, and local emergency services
- Family planning and health care services
- Outreach services and medical interpreters
A fair share contribution
Washington’s upside-down tax code amplifies inequities. Households with the lowest incomes pay the highest share in state and local taxes. To fund the community health investments and advance equity, opportunity, and economic recovery in Washington state, it is time to establish a Fair Share Contribution on large corporations to produce $500 million per year, in a dedicated account, to meet our common health and economic challenges.
Establishing a Fair Share Contribution on large corporations:
- Tier one: a 5% corporate contribution on per employee compensation exceeding half a million dollars
- Tier two: a 10% corporate contribution on per employee compensation exceeding ten million dollars
II. Social Security for Child Care and Early Learning
The Coronavirus pandemic has created an enormous challenge for child care and early learning programs. Many are in danger of financial collapse. To respond, I am co-leading a coalition of organizations and advocates to propose significant state investments to stabilize, expand, and improve child care and early learning.
Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP), for kids, birth to age 5
Working Connections Child Care for children from birth to age 12.
Particular emphasis will be put on the compensation, benefits, and training for teachers and other staff, as well as facility improvements.
A social insurance model
To fund these investments, we should build on the models of our state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program, as well as the concept of social security, with a more progressive premium payment structure, to raise over $1 billion per year for the best investment we can make for our future – our kids.
III. Working Capital for Working Families
Workforce Education to provide associate degrees, certificates, apprenticeships, and student support services in community colleges across the state.
Workforce Housing to provide substantial capital for acquisition and construction of housing affordable for lower-wage workers, located close to public transit lines as transit-oriented development.
Working Families Tax Credit to give cash back to low-income people who currently pay a much larger percentage of their income than wealthy people.
A capital gains tax
These investments should be funded by a capital gains sales tax on extraordinary profits, to raise $500 million per year. This will provide critical public purposes and bring much more fairness to our tax system.
Public Priorities and Progressive Revenues
Combined, this would produce $2 billion per year in new progressive revenue to respond to health and economic community needs exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and avoid the austerity budget cuts of the Great Recession. This proposal ensures that those who can afford it most will pay their fair share to invest in the greatest community needs, start to address longstanding social inequities, and create a better future for us all.