Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Let the House Finance Committee know you support progressive tax reform

Evergreen State progressive activists have an opportunity this week to influence the House Finance Committee, which is considering two bills (one good, one bad) that relate to revenue and budgeting.

Let's start with the bad. HB 2117, if enacted, would restore the draconian limits of Tim Eyman's Initiative 747, and is an extremely shortsighted idea. It's a huge step in the wrong direction and does nothing to make our tax structure fairer.

Instead, it harms our state's communities and makes it more difficult to adequately fund public services like fire and police protection, parks, pools, or libraries. A one percent cap does not consider factors such as inflation, population growth, or residents' demand for services.

Now to the good. HB 1827, if enacted, would require an accounting of all tax exemptions and giveaways to big business. In the last three years alone lawmakers have approved nearly half a billion dollars in new and extended tax breaks for special interests. These exemptions are almost never weighted against our real priorities (like investments in healthcare, education, or transportation).

HB 1827 increases accountability and transparency in the budget process and allows us to scrutinize all the giveaways. As Justice Louis Brandeis once said..."sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants."

The House Finance Committee will be the first to vote on these bills this week, but every legislator needs to hear from constituents to help make sure he or she knows that citizens expect progressive tax reform. Please take a moment to send a message to your legislators. You can also call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 to leave a voicemail.

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