Washington state is an enviable place to live. Whether we are Black or white, latinx or asian, Indigenous or newcomer, we’ve planted our roots in Washington because it is a hub for innovation and an incubator for creative talent. We stay here because we are wholly invested in our communities. All of us signing on to this letter have done well here financially, too.
But many of our neighbors are not doing well. The economic effects of COVID-19 are felt by all of us, but especially our frontline workers, communities of color, and families with low-incomes. Even before the pandemic, Washingtonians with the lowest incomes have been paying the highest share of their income in taxes - a stunning 17% - while high earners like us and our peers pay as little as 3% or less. That’s unacceptable. Washington’s tax code was written this way a century ago, explicitly to benefit people like us and penalize those who don’t earn as much as we do.
Punishing our neighbors who earn lower wages is a choice we do not have to keep making.
As high income earners working in tech, we are calling on the Washington legislature to finally make us pay our share in taxes, and an excise tax on extraordinary profits from capital gains is a good start. We ask that you pass SB 5096 and other taxes on our wealth so that those of us who are doing well in Washington, especially during this pandemic, can do right by all Washingtonians. We want to and should do our part to protect and support our communities. Make us an active partner in investing in the communities where we live.
Let’s be clear. None of us will move out of state as a result of the Legislature doing its job to rebalance our upside down tax code. Our roots are here; our families, our companies, our communities. New taxes will not drive us away, they will only help us protect this place we call home. And that is why we are coming together to demand that the rules be rewritten. It’s time to balance our tax code so that those of us at the top finally pay our share.
Together, we can rebuild an economy where all of us, no matter what we look like or what’s in our wallets, can thrive.