Overview

Washington state has the most upside-down tax code of any state in the country. Families making the least amount of money pay as much as six times more in state and local taxes as a share of their income, compared to people making the most money.

Low Income households are taxed at the highest rate of all Washingtonians

Things don’t have to be this way. We can have a state with social services and housing for all. A state with accessible mass transit, well-funded arts and education programs, and childcare for all who need it. A state where no Washingtonian is denied economic security. To get there, we’ll have to work to implement progressive revenue solutions that ask those with more to pay their fair share.

Family of four standing together. Text: "A few hundred dollars would helpy my family a lot with gas, parking, and transportation to get back and forth to work." -Drayton, club level stadium manager Bremerton

The Working Families Tax Credit, which became law in 2008, is Washington state’s version of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is the federal government’s most successful program at reducing poverty. Yet, the state legislature has never funded the Working Families Tax Credit in the budget, missing a vital opportunity to re-balance our tax code for low- and moderate-income Washingtonians. If implemented, the Working Families Tax Credit would refund a portion of the state sales tax thereby boosting families’ economic security, helping them make ends meet, and mitigating the impact of our state’s regressive tax structure.

What We’re Doing About It

Poverty Action supports equitable revenue solutions that ensure economic security for low-income households in Washington.

  • Fund and expand the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) through the Recovery Rebate.
  • Rebalance our state tax code with revenue measures like estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and payroll taxes, which are paid by those who can most afford it.