Setting Priorities in Washington: Raising revenue to invest in our future

Continued state budget cuts are dragging down Washington’s economy, undermining opportunity for our children, and threatening the health of our most vulnerable citizens. We can choose a better path that builds a stronger future for our state.

Over the past three years, Washington’s budget has been slashed by roughly $6 billion. Reductions affect everyone–with larger classes and fewer staff in public schools, higher tuition and fewer course offerings at universities and community colleges. And with 137,000 people on the waitlist for the Basic Health Plan, fragile seniors losing in‐home services, and low‐income children losing quality childcare, budget cuts will also mean more layoffs in every community in the state.

During its 2011 session, Washington’s legislature will be adopting a supplemental budget for the final months of the 2009‐2011 budget (which runs through June 2011), and a new two year 2011‐2013 budget beginning in July 2011.Withthe effects of the recession lingering, forecasts for anticipated public revenue is well short of the need for services. Accordingly, Governor Gregoire has recommended even deeper cuts that will further harm state citizens and weaken the fragile economic recovery.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Hundreds of special tax breaks passed during economic boom times drain billions from public services. Once passed, most are never scrutinized again. It’s time to reprioritize tax breaks and decide which ones are more important than investments in education, health care, and the structures that build a more prosperous future for all Washingtonians.

See below for a list of tax exemptions and new revenue sources that would yield close to $4 billion in revenue to restore budget cuts and set Washington on a path to future prosperity

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