Patty Liu, a mother of two younger boys who lives in King County, pays greater than $2,500 each month for little one care. That’s greater than her household’s mortgage and automobile cost mixed. Actually, it’s greater than the price of annual tuition at any public college in Washington.
Patty’s state of affairs will not be distinctive. As a mother or father, I’ve additionally struggled to seek out high quality little one care that’s obtainable in my neighborhood. I consider that each mother or father, regardless of how a lot cash they’ve of their pockets, ought to be capable of work a shift figuring out their little one is protected and blissful. Nonetheless, previously, some elected officers selected to not make youngsters a precedence. They put the price of protected, inexpensive little one care out of attain for a lot of working households. It’s ladies — significantly ladies of coloration — who pay the most important value, actually, dropping out of the workforce to tackle the duty of caring for his or her younger youngsters, actually because that makes extra monetary sense than working. Not solely are they lacking a paycheck, however we’re lacking their expertise and perspective in our workplaces.
The pandemic didn’t trigger a disaster of inexpensive, accessible little one care, but it surely shortly confirmed tears within the material of the system. Our child-care system must be remade earlier than it disintegrates fully. On condition that 15% of our workforce are mother and father to younger youngsters, our state’s financial restoration will depend on it.
This yr, lawmakers in Olympia made vital progress on little one care, early studying and training. We applaud their management in creating Truthful Begin for Children, which expands entry to preschool and early studying and can make little one care accessible to 1000’s extra households, particularly Black, Indigenous and folks of coloration; college students who’re mother and father; and single mothers. Truthful Begin for Children will imply fewer mother and father have to decide on between working or leaving a job to care for his or her youngsters.
Truthful Begin for Children and different packages are funded as a result of lawmakers in Washington state are lastly requiring the rich to start out paying what they owe by means of a tax on capital-gains earnings. It’s a 7% tax on the sale of shares, bonds and different intangible belongings on earnings exceeding $250,000 yearly, and exempts retirement funds, actual property, small family-owned companies and extra. Fewer than 1% of the state’s wealthiest residents can pay this tax, however their wealth is so monumental that this modest tax will increase an estimated $500 million annually for little one care and training.
The capital-gains tax is a crucial begin to balancing our state’s upside-down tax code. Washington is lifeless final relating to tax equity. The bottom earners in our state pay the best % of their revenue in state and native taxes (almost 18%), whereas the wealthiest pay the least (simply 3%).
It’s not truthful to proceed asking low- and middle-income Washingtonians to pay greater than their share in taxes, whereas the wealthiest get away with not paying what they owe.
Our tax code has systemic and institutional racism baked into it. It serves these with wealth and energy who additionally occur to be principally white, whereas denying Black and brown individuals entry to wealth and alternative.
By taking daring motion to reform our tax code, legislators are selecting to speed up a long-term, equitable restoration for all of our communities. Due to these elected leaders, mothers like Patty and I are respiratory a sigh of aid once they hear that extra choices for inexpensive little one care are coming quickly.
Our group and so many others — like MomsRising, Stability Our Tax Code, All In For Washington, Washington State Price range & Coverage Middle and extra — have been advocating for a capital-gains tax for years as a result of we wish wholesome, affluent communities. We’re excited to see it move this yr, after we want it most.
However there’s extra work to do. Collectively, we will construct a extra simply, equitable and affluent future for everybody in our state, so we will all thrive it doesn’t matter what we seem like, the place we dwell, or what’s in our wallets.