United States

Tax the Wealthy and Corporate Profits!

Washington State Labor Council Resolution Number 9

WHEREAS, in a time of economic crisis when public services are needed more than ever, the 2009 session of the Washington State Legislature covered a $9 billion revenue shortfall by passing an all-cuts budget that slashed such vital services as healthcare, education, parks, and assistance for the needy; and

WHEREAS, the state budget for the next two years will result in at least 7,000 layoffs of public workers, as well as pay freezes, furloughs, and reduced state contributions to healthcare and pensions for thousands of public sector employees; and

WHEREAS, with several thousand layoffs at Boeing and Microsoft, the state’s unemployment rate has reached a 25-year high of 9.4 percent and will climb higher with mass layoffs throughout the public and private sectors; and

WHEREAS, Washington’s tax structure, which relies heavily on volatile sales taxes, is increasingly inadequate to fund needed services, and is the most regressive in the nation—the poorest 20 percent of state residents pay 17 percent of their income in taxes while the richest one percent pay only 3.6 percent; and

WHEREAS, the wealthy can afford to pay more taxes since over the last quarter century wealth has concentrated even more in their hands, with over 90 percent of the gains from economic growth going to the richest ten percent of the population; and

WHEREAS, after receiving a great deal of support and money from labor, the Democrats in the state legislature sided with the corporate elite and resolved the budget crisis solely on the backs of workers and the poor by refusing to tax the wealthy or corporate profits, and by passing unemployment tax breaks for big business, despite rising unemployment; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) will urge its affiliates to work with other unions and community groups to organize a week of action sometime between the fall of 2009 and the spring of 2010 to protest state budget cuts and escalating job losses; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the protests demand a fair and stable tax system that taxes the wealthy and corporate profits in order to fund the following:

1. Rollback of state budget cuts to healthcare, human services, education, natural resources, other public services, and state pensions, as well as increases in services to meet previously unmet needs;

2. Distribution of funds to city and county governments to restore and expand services slashed as a result of budget shortfalls;

3. Programs to provide jobs to the unemployed by pursuing socially beneficial projects, such as construction of public housing; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council work in conjunction with AFSCME Council 28 to coordinate, facilitate, and lead on a statewide level a week of action that includes rallies (like the Health Care for All March on May 30, 2009), as well as smaller actions such as press conferences and forums, and that the WSLC actively seek the involvement of all unions, as well as reach out to communities that are being hardest hit by the budget and economic crisis.