Legislative Action Committee Talking Points
The primary work of the state legislature over the next month (or more!) will be the budget. The current biennial budget expires on June 30 and a new budget needs to be adopted by that date to keep the state open on July 1. The budget is about $dollars$, but it’s also about sense – where we spend our public funds are our priorities.
With this in mind, the Legislative Action Committee (LAC) asks you to act to support those policies and programs that are important to us as Democrats – programs that protect the environment, provide for the economic security and well-being of all, but especially those most vulnerable because of poverty, infirmity, disability, age and other inequities, and ensure that all have quality educational opportunities.
To this end, we ask you to communicate with our 34th District senator, Sharon Nelson, and representatives, Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon. Call; write a letter; send an email. (See www.leg.wa.gov for contact information.) Talk to your friends and relatives that share our values, but live in other districts, particularly Republican districts; encourage them to share this message with their state legislators.
To help you, here are some notes for you to put into your message:
- Response to the budget proposals from the Governor, Senate Republicans and House Democrats:
- The estimated $4 billion in added dollars per biennium needed to fully fund education, as required under the State Supreme Court McCleary decision, should come from new revenue, not by stealing from other programs that are essential to our state’s social contract; don’t sacrifice social services or the environment to fund the education budget.
- The levy swap is a bad idea that will hurt the residents of the 34th Legislative District by increasing the tax burden on those residents and exporting those taxes to other parts of the state rather than improving conditions locally, where there are significant unmet educational needs.
- New revenue sources are needed:
- A new tax of 7.0 to 7.9 percent on capital gains over $25,000 (or $50,000 for joint filers) would raise as much as $800 million in new revenue.
- Tax exemptions for large corporations could be reduced or eliminated without adversely affecting their bottom lines. Those dollars could save residents from homelessness, health care catastrophe, hunger and a degraded environment. These exemptions should be carefully examined for their supposed benefits to the state and eliminated if they are not accomplishing the state’s goals.
- Washington State should embrace the first carbon tax in the nation and lead the way toward environmental policy that provides an economic incentive for reducing greenhouse emissions and raises revenues. The Governor’s proposal, for example, at $25 per metric ton of carbon, would raise about $2 billion.
Tell your story. Have social, environmental or other government programs helped or hurt you or someone in a way that illustrates why Democratic policies and programs are important? Tell our legislators, briefly, so that our legislators can share your story with their colleagues.