Shop Steward Joschue Reyes has publised a guest opinion piece in the Forks Forum that calls on the legislature to increase revenue and fund the DOC contract.
You can read the entire piece below:
Capital gains: What it is and how it can benefit us
If you're anything like the majority of Washingtonians, you live paycheck to paycheck, trying to scrape by on what little income you receive. People like me are often advised to "live within our means", but the cost of living continues to increase while our wages either decrease or remain the same.
As an employee at the Department of Corrections, my wages are dependent on the approval of the legislature, which must evaluate, decide, and approve budget priorities. However, with our state’s ongoing budget crisis, we must find alternative methods to generate revenue so that our contracts can be funded and we can pay for basic services that keep our community safe.
I have worked at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center since 2004, and during that time, my co-workers and I have been forced to deal with budget cuts that not only affect the potential for wage increases but have also negatively impacted how we as state workers are able to perform our duties. In the profession of corrections, whether we agree or not, we are mandated to provide certain programs to offenders. These programs take a huge portion of the DOC state budget. By cutting so much from the budget, we have been unable to maintain the necessary revenue to support our end goals effectively, which are public safety, staff security, and the reduction of recidivism for offenders.
This is where the support of new revenue is crucial. I am sure that when many Washingtonians first hear the word "tax", they become suspicious, thinking, "Wait a minute, we need more money in our pockets, not to have something taken away."
However, the capital gains tax is a proposed 5% tax that would be aimed at taxing profits made from the sale of stocks, bond, and assets over $25,000 for individual taxpayers and $50,000 on joint filers. For example, if a single taxpayer has a long-term capital gain of $35,000 dollars in a taxable year, that person would report a capital gain of $10,000.
If you are one of those Washingtonians who is struggling to pay his bills, then this tax would not apply to you. In fact, the capital gains initiative would affect approximately 32,000 taxpayers, or only the very wealthiest residents of our state.
It is important to be informed regarding capital gains because it is a fair way of raising revenue that does not penalize working families. In addition, it will not affect retirement accounts, most agricultural lands, timber, most primary residences, and property used for businesses. This revenue from the capital gains tax is anticipated to raise $570 million dollars by 2017 which can be distributed throughout the state.
Do not take my word for it, but rather I encourage each and every individual to do the research and make an educated decision. I am confident that eyes will be opened and the need for a capital gains initiative will prove to be a necessary step in developing a strong and stable state economy.