Our tax structure in Washington is the most regressive in the country. In fact, the lowest income folks in our state pay seven times more in taxes as a share of their income than the wealthiest 1%. This is wrong and it's not sustainable. We cannot continue to fund our most vital programs on the backs of the poor and working class, while the wealthy and corporations receive massive tax breaks and don't pay their fair share. The time to fix this is now.

Modernizing the Code

We are funding our government on the backs of low-income and middle-class families, and small businesses rather than asking the wealthiest among us and large corporations to pay their fair share. We must end tax handouts to corporations who ship jobs out of state and work to reform the code to reduce our reliance on sales and property taxes.

Noel supported:

  • HB 2186 – Funding public schools in compliance with the McCleary lawsuit by creating a capital gains excise tax; amending the real-estate excise tax and business & occupation (B&O) tax to be progressive rather than uniform; Market Place Fairness Act to expand sales tax to online sales; and using funds from the budget stabilization account (CO-SPONSOR of HB 1730, earlier version of Capital Gains; Market Place Fairness Act and budget stabilization account provisions PASSED as part of HB 2242)
  • HB 2940 – Making B&O tax more progressive to help small business. (COSPONSOR)
  • HB 2967 – Creating a capital gains excise tax to fund property tax reduction by indexing the low-income senior, veteran and disabled tax exemption to median county income, and providing relief to all property owners after the low-income program is funded. (CO-SPONSOR)

What’s next?

There is still more work to do. In the next session I plan to continue to put a critical eye on all tax breaks proposed to the legislature to ensure they have real public benefit and if they do, that strong performance metrics are included to hold beneficiaries of the tax breaks accountable for delivering what they promised.

Reducing Tax Breaks

For too long, large corporations have benefited from tax breaks that we were told would eventually trickle down to the middle class. Corporations should only receive these tax breaks if our working families see the benefits through higher wages or better benefits. The old argument that providing corporations with tax breaks will keep them in our state has been proven false, time and time again, and we can no longer afford to believe large companies when they promise jobs in exchange for tax breaks, and then break that promise. 

Noel supported

  • A veto of SB 5977’s provision that would have provided a permanent 40% tax cut for manufacturers that export with no publicly available fiscal analysis, no expiration date and no performance metrics.

Noel opposed:

  • Every new or expanded tax exemption or preferential rate (during the 2017 session), while the legislature was being fined $100,000 per day for not being in compliance with the McCleary lawsuit to fully-fund public schools.
  • SB 5977 – Package of multiple tax breaks agreed to as part of the budget deal, which was wildly inappropriate when paired with massive tax increase on middle class property owners.

What’s next?

In the next session Noel will push for the passage of a capital gains tax and introduce additional legislation to make the tax code more progressive.

Increasing Transparency and Accountability

If large corporations receive tax breaks from our state, our workers deserve to know what direct benefits they will receive. We should not provide corporations with tax breaks if they lay off Washington workers or do not pay their workers a healthy, living wage.

Noel supported:

  • HB 2145 – Clawing back Boeing’s tax breaks if they continue to lay-off Washington workers while receiving the largest tax break in American history. (PRIME SPONSOR)
  • HB 1500 – Increasing tax exemption transparency and accountability. (CO-SPONSOR)
  • HB 2936 – Estimating tax rates and regressivity for voter, legislative process, and joint legislative audit and review committee consideration. (CO-SPONSOR)

What’s next?

We need comprehensive tax reform and we need it now. Our regressive tax code is commonly referred to as among the worst, if not the worst, in the country because it places the highest burden on the poorest of people, while large companies get tax breaks without being held accountable by anyone. Noel will continue to be a voice for transparency in our tax code and will fight to make sure that corporations pay their fair share.