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Washington Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Joshua Welter, 206-383-1857, joshua@mainstreetalliance.org

Report Shows Impact to Washingtonians of Extending Bush Tax Cuts for Richest 2% of Americans 

Wealthy Few Would Reap Huge Tax Breaks at Expense of Other Washingtonians

(July 31, 2012) If the U.S. House of Representatives passes the Republican plan this week to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for one year for households making over $250,000, the wealthiest 3.1 percent of Washingtonians in that income group could get a disproportionate 45 percent of the total tax breaks in their state. Their average tax cut would be about $35,000.

In contrast, if Congress passed President Obama’s plan to extend the Bush tax cuts on the first $250,000 in household income, the average tax cut for Washingtonians who make more than that amount would be $13,000, about half of what they would get under the GOP plan. And the 33 percent of Washingtonians with income up to $25,000 would get larger average tax cuts under the Obama plan than under the Republican plan.

Those are among the key findings of a new report released today titled, “Time to Pay Their Fair Share: Washington Can’t Afford to Extend the Bush-era Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Few.” The report is authored by Americans for Tax Fairness, Citizens for Tax Justice and the National Women’s Law Center.

The report is timely because this week the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Republican plan to extend all the Bush tax cuts, including for the richest 2 percent of U.S. households, while ending improvements in tax credits for low-end and moderate-income families.  The Democrats will offer an alternative plan similar to President Obama’s, which the U.S. Senate passed last week by a 51 to 48 vote.

“I’ve been a small business owner for over twenty-five years,” said Rob Robinson, owner of Building Dynamics, LLC in Walla Walla and a member of the Main Street Alliance of Washington. “If I were to earn over $250,000.00 per annum – which, like 97 percent of small business owners, I do not – I would expect to pay my fair share. Taxes are how we as members of a society pay for making important investments for the future that help our country and our economy be revitalized.”

Major findings of the report include:

  • About 97 out of 100 Washington residents would get about the same tax cut under the Obama plan as they have up until now.
  • 3.1 percent of Washington taxpayers have an average income of about $697,000.
  • The other 96.9 percent of the state’s taxpayers make about $62,000 on average.
  • The average tax cut for those making between $50,000 and $100,000 would be nearly the same under both the Obama and GOP plans: about $1,460 and $1,450, respectively.
  • Washington taxpayers making less than $25,000 a year would get an average tax cut from the Obama plan roughly more than two times larger than from the Republican plan: $300 from Obama, compared to $170 from the GOP, because the GOP plan would end improvements in the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit for lower-income working families while the Obama plan would extend them.

The additional tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of U.S. households under the Republican plan will cost approximately $68 billion next year alone.  That’s equal to what the federal government spends to repair highways, improve education and provide school breakfasts for low-income children, ensure clean drinking water, and deliver meals at home to frail seniors.  The report breaks down what Washington’s share of these funds means for its residents:

  • Highway Planning and Construction: Washington will receive $606.8 million in federal funds in FY 2012 to help it plan, build, and repair highways and bridges and support other transportation improvements. These investments in infrastructure help all Washington residents travel more safely and efficiently and promote economic growth and job creation.
  • Title 1 funding to support K-12 education: Washington will receive $218.6 million in federal funds in FY 2012 for grants to local school districts serving disadvantaged children. In the 2009-2010 school year, 1,486 Washington schools serving more than 657,000 children were eligible for this funding.
  • Head Start and Early Head Start preschool programs: Washington will receive $117.8 million in federal funds in FY 2012 for Head Start, which helps preschool-age children in low-income families build the skills they need to succeed in school. Head Start and Early Head Start preschool programs served 11,278 children in low-income Washington families in 2009.
  • School Breakfast Program:  Washington will receive $49.7 million in federal funds in FY 2012 for the school breakfast program, which provides free or reduced price breakfasts to children from low- and moderate-income families. A nutritious breakfast improves children’s health and helps them start the day ready to learn. In 2011, the program served an average of 179,900 Washington children each day.
  • Make Drinking Water Safer: Washington will receive $47 million in federal funds in FY 2012 to construct water treatment facilities and ensure clean drinking water.
  • Provide Meals to Homebound Seniors: Washington will receive $4.4 million in federal funds in FY 2012 to provide home-delivered meals to frail seniors. About 11,838 Washington residents received meals through this program in 2010.

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