We are each the experts in our own lives and know how to meet our needs better than anyone else.

In the last two years, lawmakers created more avenues for unrestricted cash assistance to provide relief from the financial impacts of COVID-19. What we’ve heard from people most impacted in Washington is that these payments have helped cover bills, pay off debt, and even start a savings. We’ve been told that cash assistance without strings attached is helping reduce the stress and worry that comes with choosing which basic needs to pay for.

We know that the effects of COVID-19 will continue to disproportionately impact those of us with the lowest incomes and communities of color unless our lawmakers vote for policies to ensure we can all have a baseline of financial stability. We also know that having enough income plays a huge role in our health and wellbeing.

In the 2021 Legislative Session, lawmakers voted to implement the Working Families Tax Credit, giving eligible households a cash refund when they file taxes starting in 2023. While this is a big step, the costs of living and raising a family continue to rise, as well as the profits of our state’s most wealthy.

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 where no one is denied being able to put food on the table, pay for our families’ everyday needs, and pursue our own goals in life. To get there, we’ll have to work to implement unrestricted cash assistance programs and progressive revenue solutions that make sure those with the most to pay what they owe.

What We’re Doing About It

Poverty Action advocates for direct cash support to the people of Washington through:

  • Increasing funding and expanding eligibility to programs like the Working Families Tax Credit.
  • Supporting efforts to implement a guaranteed basic income.
  • Passing progressive revenue solutions to fund cash assistance programs and make them as widely available as possible.