Let’s bring it back to basics.
A capital gains tax is a modest tax on the extraordinary profits from selling highly lucrative assets like stocks and bonds. Don’t know what that means? That means you probably won’t be paying this tax.
The majority of Washingtonians (you!) will not be affected by this policy. Only our richest 1% of wealthy Washingtonians see big profits from selling these assets. The majority of wealth from capital gains is concentrated among households with an annual income of at least $1,000,000 (Budget & Policy Center).
The profits from capital gains make the rich incredibly richer. This small tax on extraordinary capital gains could help our state get back on our feet and kickstart economic growth. We would use the money from this tax to support small businesses and families, invest in our community programs, and get more money to people like you. We can’t keep turning a blind eye to the wealthy in our state funneling money into their pockets while communities of color are losing their jobs, homes, and livelihoods.
But wait, won’t the wealthy just get up and leave? Columbia Basin Herald claims that “having a capital gains tax could slow down and make the real estate market suffer” as people leave Washington to escape these "crazy taxes."
Do you know what is actually crazy? Washington is one of the only states in our nation that does not have a capital gains tax and we are literally in last place for having the most regressive tax system. The poorest 20% in our state pay up to 17% of their income in taxes while the wealthiest 1% pay just about 3%.
People don’t live in Washington because of taxes, and people won’t leave Washington because of taxes. We live here because we love the extraordinary nature, the fun neighborhoods, the innovative small businesses that make us unique, and the strong communities of people. These are also the same things that will suffer if we continue to prioritize the wealth of a few people over the health of our state.
We know that communities of color predominantly fall under the poorest 20% and white folks fall amongst the 1%. Right now, lawmakers in Olympia have a chance to right our upside down and racist tax system by implementing a tax on extraordinary capital gains. Don’t be fooled by fear-mongering headlines or misinformation. Tell your lawmakers we need them to pass SB 5096 to ask the wealthy, white Washingtonians to start paying their share.