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Our economy should provide everyone the individual freedom and opportunity to follow their own path to happiness, and ensure that all people, families, and communities flourish through life’s inevitable ups and downs. Despite booming economic growth, the majority of Washingtonians are struggling. Our Policy Agenda helps reverse income inequality, address the legacy of racism, and build the foundations that enable individuals and communities to thrive.
EOI’s 2019 Legislative Priorities
- Early Learning – Quality early learning and care provides the foundation for lifetime opportunity. Early learning and care jobs, like all jobs, should support healthy workers, families, and communities. Quality will improve with state investments in compensation, to reach parity with K-3 teachers with similar education and experience.
- Healthcare – High costs are driving people to drop health coverage and forego care. A state-sponsored plan on the Exchange will ensure high quality care, leverage federal funds, and provide additional subsidies to ensure affordability for the lowest income through the middle class, while starting on the path to universal coverage.
- Progressive Revenue – With our regressive tax code, we can’t fund essential public services, and we hurt those already struggling. Closing the loophole on capital gains will ensure that the wealthiest support education, health, and other foundations of thriving communities. Additional progressive options include increasing the estate tax and a tax on big pharma ads.
Additional Legislation We Support
- New Hope Act – Allow people access to employment and the chance to reconstruct their lives following incarceration by allowing a judge to vacate convictions.
- Secure Scheduling – Ensure that workers in large retail and food service firms have advance notice of schedules, the right to request time off, and the right to rest between shifts.
- Long Term Care Trust Act – Establish a system similar to the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program to enable workers to invest in long term care benefits.
- Repeal of I-200 – We won’t overcome the legacy of racism without addressing race. It’s time to repeal the ban on policies that affirmatively address the barriers of racism.
Our Continuing Work
- Paid Family & Medical Leave implementation– Beginning in 2020, every worker in the state will have extended paid time off to care for a new child, seriously ill family, or their own serious health condition. EOI continues work for equitable implementation and national expansion.
- Expand Overtime and Paid Sick Leave Protections – Through the 1970s, the majority of salaried workers were eligible for overtime pay, but Washington’s salary threshold has not been updated since 1976. Updating state rules will extend overtime and sick leave protections to low- and middle-income salaried employees.
- Defend Seattle’s income tax on the affluent – A State Supreme Court decision upholding Seattle’s tax would challenge our state’s current regressive tax system, allow Seattle an important new source of revenue to tackle homelessness and other urgent needs, and open a progressive revenue pathway for policymakers across the state.
Looking to 2020 and Beyond
- Retirement security – Social Security provides a base for dignified retirements and supports families following a death or disability. In addition to fighting to protect and strengthen this important program, we must also explore new ways for the state to enact new solutions for true retirement security, building on the models provided by paid family & medical leave and long term care.
- Vacation time – Washington has acted to assure workers have time to maintain health and care for family, but time for rest and renewal, to nurture community ties, and to pursue dreams is also important. As technological innovations continues to transform work and the economy, we must pursue strategies to ensure that both income and leisure are fairly distributed to support healthy individuals and communities.
- Changing nature of work – What will work look like in coming decades? How do we provide a path to economic security, portable benefits, and empowerment for today’s gig workers? We’ll continue to study these issues and collaborate on promising policy developments.
- State of Working Washington – Both reliable data and a strong narrative are needed to create and enact public policies that reverse rising income inequality, stimulate sustainable economic growth, promote worker bargaining power, and increase public investments in child care, education, housing, and health care. We’ll continue to do the research and produce the analysis to fuel progressive policy change.
More To Read
July 10, 2019
The fellowship is a graduate-level policy position within EOI