You may look at the title of this post and think to yourself, “Wait a minute, we aren’t even through city budget season yet, so why are we already thinking about the legislative session down in Olympia?” Even though fall is very much still in the air, January is actually just around the corner. With a 60 day session this year, we will have to be prepared, and ready to advocate quickly and effectively as soon as the legislative session begins.
This morning, I attended the Children’s Alliance’s Annual Meeting, along with Amy Donnelly (Child Care Resources) and Cindy Irwin (Compass Housing Alliance), who co-chair the Coalition’s Families with Children Committee. One of the purposes of the event was to ask the legislators tough questions about their views on issues relating to the needs of Washington’s kids. One woman asked the legislators about whether they were willing to reform our tax system so that the state could have more revenue to support more vital programs. The legislators all responded with very classic, evasive answers, but one legislator, Representative Cindy Ryu, from the 32nd District, gave a helpful piece of advice. She said, “Every time you walk into your legislator’s office or communicate with your legislator, talk to them about your issue, but also talk to them about the broader systemic issue of tax reform.” This issue must be pushed by the people, and come from the bottom up.
So remember: with every e-mail you send this session, and with every meeting you go into, say at least one sentence about how you support a fairer tax system in our state, and ask your legislator to stand with you. Without a more progressive tax system, we will never have the kind of state that we all want to live in – one that can afford to fund both a fully-supported safety net and education from early learning through college.