The new budgets from Democratic lawmakers in Olympia are very clear about who really powers the economy and creates jobs in Washington state—everyday people, not CEOs.

The new budgets from state Democrats correctly identify ordinary people as the center of Washington’s economy. That’s a big deal.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking of a budget as an Excel spreadsheet — impenetrable columns of numbers that lawmakers in Washington have to balance every session, like a really dull video game. But a government budget is a roadmap for the future, a moral document explaining which people, causes, and policies should be prioritized in the next year or two years.

Washington state’s budget has for too long been balanced on the backs of the working poor. Our upside-down tax code requires the poorest households to pay up to six times more of their annual income…


State leaders are considering a new tax on the exorbitant capital gains profits of the super-rich. Here’s what it will and will not do.

Let’s be clear about what SB 5096, the wealth tax on capital gains that the Washington State Senate approved on Saturday, actually does and does not do. This is a tax on the extraordinary capital gains profits made through the sale of stocks, bonds, and other luxury assets—meaning more than 99 percent of the people in Washington state won’t pay it.

The proposed capital gains wealth tax would go into effect once you make more than $250,000 in profits on the sale of certain assets over the course of a year. So for example, if you bought $750,000 in Microsoft…


Kroger announced it would close two Seattle stores rather than pay workers $4/hour hazard wages. Does their math add up?

Time to face the music, QFC: the drumbeat for hero wages can’t be ignored any longer.

Last March, when lockdowns began, grocery store workers and delivery drivers were rightfully hailed as heroes of the pandemic. Even as restaurants and bars closed to stop the spread of coronavirus, grocery store employees risked their health, and the health of their families, to keep Americans fed while white-collar workers transitioned to home offices. From the very beginning of the pandemic they put on homemade masks to stock shelves, ring up customers, and keep the supply chain working when everything else shut down.

At the beginning of the pandemic, public respect for grocery workers was overwhelming and unanimous. Rodney McMullen…


Here’s a FAQ full of the latest research debunking all the anti-$15 arguments you’ll find on Twitter and Facebook

I took this photo in January 2019, when Washington state’s minimum wage was $12 per hour. Even fast food restaurants outside Seattle’s jurisdiction were matching Seattle’s minimum wage, disproving the argument that businesses would move away from high-wage cities and to lower-wage suburbs.

When they took power, Democratic leadership didn’t waste any time working toward Joe Biden’s campaign promise to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. This is great news for all Americans — even if they earn more than minimum wage. It would put more money in the pockets of nearly 40 million American workers, and those workers would then spend that money in their local communities, creating even more jobs with their consumer demand.

But take it from someone…


Thom Hartmann’s latest book explains how America restored balance in the past.

If you were to ask the average American what she’d do if she suddenly had a million dollars, you’d likely hear a wide variety of answers. Maybe she’d finally get a new car, or maybe she’d take a long vacation, or maybe she’d pay for her kids’ college education. Every one of those answers would have something in common: The person answering would want to buy something with their new fortunes.

But when billionaires push politicians to slash regulations or taxes, or to keep the minimum wage below the poverty line, they have a very different reason for wanting to…


A Wisconsin political organizer describes which progressive economic policies can win them back.

On, Wisconsin!

Not too long ago, states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were considered Democratic strongholds and not swing states. And the strength that Democrats enjoyed in those states didn’t just come from deep-blue urban areas, either — Democratic politicians and policies were roundly popular with rural voters across the Midwest.

That rock-steady rural voting bloc, which stood strong for most of the 20th century, was a direct result of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, which delivered electricity infrastructure, transportation, and economic support to out-of-the-way rural areas. …


Over 1600 Washingtonians, including wealthy investors and small business owners, just argued for a progressive tax on untapped wealth to make Washington’s economy stronger and more inclusive.

Erica Williams testifies remotely during the public hearing for HB 1496 on Thursday, February 11th, 2021.

Yesterday, Washington’s House Finance Committee held a hearing to discuss HB 1496, a bill that would enact a progressive tax on the untapped wealth of Washington’s richest citizens to raise revenue for communities that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Like all hearings in the pandemic, the meeting was held virtually — you can watch it in full online, if you’d like.

But unlike most remote hearings, a remarkable number of Washingtonians took part in the process, with an astounding 1662 Washingtonians signing in to show their support for the institution of a tax on wealth from extraordinary capital…


A new report lays out five policies that the Washington State Legislature can pass to address our economic woes. Only one rebuilds an economy for everyone.

This week, Washington state lawmakers gathered in Olympia to determine how the state will recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The decisions they make in this legislative session will shape the health of our economy for the next decade. It all comes down to this question: will our leaders invest in the economy, or will they slash spending in a knee-jerk attempt to balance the budget?

The choice between investments and cuts will affect virtually every facet of Washington state’s economy. When eviction bans are lifted, will families be thrown on the street with a black mark on their credit histories…


For nearly half of the USA, the minimum wage increased on January 1st. Not even the trickle-down business lobby could turn that into bad news.

Happy Minimum Wage Day! Every January 1st, new minimum wage increases go into effect in states and cities around the country. As USA Today notes, 2021 delivered a bumper crop of higher wages for workers: “Twenty states and 32 cities and counties…are set to raise their minimum wages on or about New Year’s Day.” The Hill explains what those raises look like: “New Mexico will see the largest jump, adding $1.50 to its hourly minimum and bringing it up to $10.50. Arkansas, California, Illinois and New Jersey will each increase their minimum wages by $1.”

Here in Washington state, the…


WA Gov. Jay Inslee’s new budget learns from the mistakes of past recessions and starts to prepare the state for recovery.

Governor Inslee, modeling good mask-wearing behavior.

Yesterday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee unveiled his budget proposal for 2021 through 2023. Budget announcements don’t usually make for riveting political theater, but yesterday’s speech gathered far more attention than usual because of its unique historical context. Inslee wasn’t simply announcing a few tweaks on the continuation of business as usual. He was laying out his plan for how Washington state will combat the pandemic and rebuild from the disastrous economic downturn that accompanied the arrival of COVID-19.

Not every political leader confronts a moment like this. Hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians lost their jobs this year. Consumer spending cratered…

Paul Constant

Political writer at Civic Ventures. Co-founder of the Seattle Review of Books. Author of comics including PLANET OF THE NERDS.

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