The governor’s budget proposal: So much for a scalpel

The flood water is rising fast on lower- and middle-class families in Washington.

The state budget has already been swamped, and a lifeboat from the federal government isn’t even in the water yet.

Record unemployment, loss of insurance and home foreclosures have become commonplace among American families.

We watch as tax dollars are funneled into institutions with poor businesses models, while the bottom falls out of state programs that benefit working people most during difficult economic times.

All this, and corporate lobbyists continue to insist flat taxes, privatized services and a wage freeze are the only way businesses will survive this recession.

The trickle-down isn’t working. The elimination of services like the Washington Basic Health Plan and the Paid Family Leave Insurance program couldn’t come at a worse time.

It’s time for a shift in state policy—one that will update our democratic institutions and social protections for the challenges of the 21st century.

A high incomes’ tax on incomes over $200,000 would, by itself, generate just of $2.58 billion over the next biennium.

Maximizing federal matches to programs that emphasize preventive care, including SCHIP and Medicaid, would give our state leaders more flexibility in funding vital state programs.

And establishing universal voluntary retirement accounts would afford all workers and small business owners the opportunity to save for their future income security.

Balancing spending cuts with well-chosen tax increases will retool our economy for sustained economic growth.

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