All in for Washington: Fighting Washington’s Upside-Down Tax Code

All In For Washington is a statewide effort to clean up the tax code so that all communities in Washington thrive. We know we can do great things when we all chip in our resources together to achieve the amazing things we could never accomplish alone.

Balance our Tax Code

https://balanceourtaxcode.com/ has a petition to balance our unfair, regressive tax code.

Washington’s tax code is upside down.

Washington’s tax code is the most upside down in the nation.

Powerful special interests have rigged the system so the rich get richer while working families pay more and more. In Washington, those making the least pay 18% or more of their income towards state and local taxes, while the wealthiest pay only 3% or less. But we can work together to balance our tax code so all our communities thrive. Join us to make it a reality.

https://balanceourtaxcode.com/

Socialist Linchpin Moody’s Investors Service Blasts Amazon’s Influence on Seattle

by Matthew Caruchet

Karl Marx-inspired credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service issued a report this month saying that Amazon’s bullying tactics over Seattle’s newly-passed employee hours tax show it has too much influence over our city.

The tax would require businesses with more than $20 million in annual revenue to pay about $275 per full-time employee, per year.

Amazon, which boasted $1.9 billion in profits in the last three months of 2017, balked at having to pay $20 million per year to deal with the homelessness crisis caused in part by the displacement of low-income Seattle residents from the influx of highly paid workers coming to the city.

Amazon's profits and Jeff Bezos' profligacy

Amazon has been able to “materially influence the outcome of the [head tax] debate by withholding or threatening to withhold employment or other economic expansion,” Moody’s said, warning about the behemoth’s penchant for exercising “outsized influence in some local government policy decisions.”

We also saw this statewide with Amazon’s opposition to updating Washington’s equal pay for women law, even though Microsoft and other tech companies worked to improve the bill.

Moody’s analysts called the employee hours tax on large Seattle employers “a credit positive for the city,” adding that it won’t affect job growth.

(In all seriousness, Moody’s is a stalwart capitalist institution. In fact, researchers at Boston College found in 2017 that Moody’s desires to “cater to its corporate clients,” as did researchers at Penn State and the University of Georgia in 2017 and Emory University in 2014. If anything, Moody’s is harder on local governments than it is on corporations.)

Originally published at Economic Opportunity Institute

Billionaire Bill Gates Says He Should Pay ‘Significantly Higher’ Taxes

Billionaire Bill Gates Says He Should Pay ‘Significantly Higher’ Taxes

Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates says he should pay more in taxes and that the government should require other superwealthy people like him to contribute “significantly higher” amounts.

“I need to pay higher taxes,” Gates, who is worth over $90 billion, said in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday.

“I’ve paid more taxes, over $10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require the people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes,” he said…

Choose your battles wisely

I saw a facebook post that was encouraging overturning of I-200 (the voter-approved initiative which prohibits affirmative action and similar racial preferences). I support over-turning I-200 but that’s not my highest priority. My highest priorities are economic inequality and environmental justice.

As I commented on the post, many people think the bill is of mixed benefit, all things considered. Specifically, overturning I-200 risks alienating some voters who progressives need on other issues. I know a Chinese lady who voted for Trump because, she said, her son was at a disadvantage getting into an Ivy League school because of affirmative action. I don’t think she is a racist.

Do we fight about identity politics? Or do we fight about economic and environmental justice? Or both?

Our resources and political capital are limited. So, yes, I support overturning I-200. Given a choice between spending political capital on that bill and spending it on other issues, what’s the best choice?

We have legalized marijuana and gay marriage — which are good to have. But Washington State have the most regressive tax system in the nation, and I want our legislators to tackle that issue, which is a foundation for so much more that we want: education, public transit, an adequate social safety net, housing, environmental stewardship, and guaranteed health care for all.

Extreme wealth inequality

The Billionaire Bonanza: 5 Things You Need To Know About The Inequality Gap

There are now 2,043 dollar billionaires worldwide. Nine out of 10 of them are men.

In 12 months, the wealth of this elite group of 2,043 has increased by $762 billion — enough to end extreme poverty seven times over.

In the period between 2006 and 2015, ordinary workers saw their incomes rise by an average of just 2 percent a year, while billionaire wealth rose by nearly 13 percent.

Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett, the three richest people in the U.S., own the same wealth ($248.5 billion) as the bottom half of the U.S. population.

What are we getting out of Boeing’s tax breaks?

As a young girl, my daughter had a fear of flying. She overcame this through a thorough study of airplanes and landed on the 737 as her preferred means of transportation in the air. So naturally, she asked for a Boeing T-shirt for a present. It says, “If it’s not Boeing, I’m not going!”

So let’s talk about Boeing. You might expect that Boeing would treat Everett as the jewel in the crown of its operations. That is certainly what the Boeing management led legislators and the governor to believe when the company demanded first a $3.2 billion tax concession from the state, and then another $8.7 billion.

But what did this recent tax giveaway to Boeing get us? A loss of close to 12,000 jobs, 15% of the total Boeing workforce in our state. That means that the state gave Boeing about $138,000 for every single job they took away!

Boeing just heralded its new 787-10, built in South Carolina. This was the first Boeing jet to make its first flight outside of Puget Sound. The company is forecasting that production of the earlier 787 models may slow down. Where will the planes not be built? Well, naturally, not in Boeing’s old home of Washington. That tax money we gave them? It just finances outsourcing of jobs and investment to other states and countries.

Boeing is spending billions of dollars in South Carolina and not in our state just to stick it to the unionized workers, the machinists and the engineers, in our state. There is no other reason, financial or otherwise, to forsake decades of investment in plant and workers. Remember how all this got started: Boeing took over McDonnell Douglas in 1997, but actually the McDonnell Douglas management took over Boeing. Right away, they went looking for a new Boeing corporate headquarters, not in Seattle.

The guy who oversaw this flight from and fleecing of our state was Harry Stonecipher. He dreamed up outsourcing the 787 to Japan, Italy, South Carolina and other places, which resulted in billions of dollars of cost overruns when the quality of this outsourcing was not good enough to fly safely in the new airplane.

As Jim Albaugh, chief of Commercial Airplanes at Boeing, explained in January 2011, “We spent a lot more money in trying to recover than we ever would have spent if we’d tried to keep the key technologies closer to home.” But Stonecipher was not fired for his mismanagement of Boeing, he was fired for his mismanagement of his personal life after it came out he was having an affair with another Boeing manager.

Washington has not only given billions to Boeing in tax breaks, it has invested in workers’ education to insure a pipeline of skilled employees for Boeing. At Edmonds Community College, the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center teaches manufacturing assembly, electrical assembly, quality assurance, aerospace tooling and aerospace composites. Everett Community College has both the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing and an aviation maintenance technology program. In 2012, the Legislature established the Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline Advisory Committee.

However, with Boeing’s job drain, we do not need a pipeline. These workers are picked off by companies in other states, with no investment by those states. Recently SPEEA, the Boeing engineers union, sent out a notice to its members about Lockheed Martin holding a Seattle job fair to hire for positions in California and Texas. So now aerospace companies are poaching Boeing workers from our state. These workers have been educated thanks to our public investments in K-12 and higher education to supply Boeing with a skilled workforce. Now Boeing does not need or want these workers.

Boeing is indeed going. There is no reason why the state of Washington must pay them to go. The Legislature should immediately close that $8.7 billion tax loophole, and put that money into education from pre-kindergarten through college. Then we would have workers ready for Washington companies, including aerospace companies, who are committed to our state. Boeing is not one of those.

Originally published a the Everett Herald

Quickie link: All Income Growth is Going to the Richest 1 Percent of Washingtonians

According to All Income Growth is Going to the Richest 1 Percent of Washingtonians :

It’s time for policymakers in Washington state to take steps to reverse decades of widening economic disparities that threaten broad prosperity, now that it has again been shown that all income growth since 2009 continues to flow to the wealthiest Washingtonians.

An updated report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that the richest 1 percent of households – those making over $388,000 a year – captured all of the new income generated in Washington state between 2009 and 2013 (see graph). By contrast, and in a stark reversal from past decades, average incomes among the remaining 99 percent of Washingtonians declined during this period, causing far too many hardworking families to fall even further behind.

All Income Growth is Going to the Richest 1 Percent of Washingtonians