Schmudget Blog

Creating a Safeguard Rebate Is Key to Equitable Property Tax Reform

By Andy Nicholas, associate director of fiscal policy, and Kelli Smith, policy analyst

This is the fourth in a series of schmudget blog posts about property taxes in Washington state and the role they play in funding basic K-12 education.

Any reform to the Washington state property tax code to help pay for schools must also take steps to make the tax code more equitable. In conjunction with other reforms that the Budget & Policy Center is proposing to the property tax, legislators should consider creating a new property tax rebate – called a safeguard rebate – to reduce property tax payments for homeowners and renters with middle and lower incomes. This new rebate would ensure that our proposed changes to the property tax code do not disproportionately impact these residents.

For eligible households, the safeguard rebate would reduce property tax payments that exceed a certain portion of a household’s annual income. The rebate would be available to homeowners and renters in Washington state with annual household incomes below $75,000. More specifically:

  • Households earning less than $25,000 per year would be refunded all of the property taxes they pay, up to a maximum of $1,500.
  • Households earning $25,000 to $46,999 would be refunded their property taxes in excess of 1 percent of household income, up to a maximum of $1,250.
  • Households earning $47,000 to $74,999 would be refunded their property taxes paid in excess of 2 percent of household income, up to a maximum of $1,000.

The Budget & Policy Center’s property tax reform proposals would increase the state property tax rate and eliminate the law that artificially restricts property tax growth. Adding in this safeguard rebate is an important step to ensure that these reforms don’t most heavily impact the people who can least afford a higher tax. 

In fact, creating this safeguard rebate would actually result in reduced property taxes for lower- and middle-income households. The chart below shows how safeguard rebates would offset the effect of increasing the state property tax for households bringing in less than $75,000 per year. The households with the lowest incomes would see their overall state and local tax bills shrink by 4.6 percent of their annual incomes.

Click on the graphic below to see an enlarged version.


Importantly, the rebate would be available to renters as well as homeowners. Even though renters do not directly pay property taxes, economists note that most landlords pass some of their property tax bills on to renters, and renters pay property taxes through higher rents. Under this proposal, renters would be able to assume that 15 percent of their rent is property tax, and they would be eligible for the safeguard rebate under the same parameters as homeowners. 

Across the nation, 18 states have enacted similar property tax credits or rebates, and 16 of them include renters in the program. This is an approach that has been tested – and works – in other states.

Protecting households with middle and low incomes paves the way for lawmakers to raise property tax revenue in an equitable way – from Washingtonians at the top of the income scale who currently pay seven times less in state taxes as a percentage of their incomes than those with the lowest incomes. 

By promoting equity and raising essential revenue, safeguard rebates are a smart path to keeping property taxes affordable for those who already struggle to make ends meet. They would help fix a tax code that for far too long has raised revenue on the backs of those who can least afford it while giving the richest 1 percent a break.   


It’s Time to Strengthen Our Property Tax Code to Invest in Schools

By Andy Nicholas, associate director of fiscal policy, and Kelli Smith, policy analyst

This is the third in a series of schmudget blog posts about property taxes in Washington state and the role they play in funding basic K-12 education.

To invest in the high-quality K-12 education Washington’s kids deserve, lawmakers should clean up the state’s primary source of school funding – the property tax code. There's a way to clean up the tax code while also creating a more sustainable, equitable source of funding for our kids’ schools. Here’s how:

  • Eliminate a damaging law that restricts growth in resources that can be generated by state and local property taxes each year. 
  • Raise the state property tax to $3.60 per $1,000 of assessed value from the projected 2017 rate of $2.06 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is low by historic standards
  • Enact a property tax safeguard rebate to ensure these changes don’t disproportionately impact renters and homeowners who can’t afford a tax increase.

Washington’s state and local property taxes have historically been a reliable source of funding for schools, public safety, and other important priorities that serve all Washingtonians. But the property tax’s ability to support these investments has steadily eroded since Tim Eyman’s Initiative 747 – which built on previous limitations enacted in the late 1990s –  was approved in 2001. 

I-747 limited the annual growth in property tax collections to a maximum of 1 percent per year [1] for the state’s portion of the property tax revenue and for all local property tax levies that don’t have to be regularly re-approved by voters. Because the state’s portion of the property tax is dedicated to K-12 public schools under the state constitution, this restriction on property tax revenue means it can’t keep pace with the annual growth in essential education costs, like heating classrooms and providing manageable class sizes. 

Washington’s kids have been paying the price for this disastrous law ever since it was first enacted. As the chart below shows, in 2016 alone, the 1 percent levy growth limit left $1.5 billion on the table that could – and should – have been invested in our school kids. Those resources would have gone a long way toward closing the gap on the Supreme Court mandate for school funding per the McCleary decision. 

Click on the graphic to see an enlarged version of the chart.


To reverse this trend, lawmakers should repeal Eyman’s 1 percent levy growth limit and raise the state property tax rate to $3.60 per $1,000 of assessed value. Doing so would inject at least $1.5 billion per year back into our kids’ classrooms.  

The across-the-board 1 percent levy growth limit is the wrong way to address our upside-down tax code – in which Washingtonians with the lowest incomes are paying the way for the wealthiest. A safeguard rebate is a better way to ensure that our property tax system is both sustainable and equitable. It allows policymakers to raise additional resources for schools while reducing taxes for middle- and lower-income homeowners and renters. (Read more about our safeguard rebate proposal on this schmudget blog post.)  

1. The 1 percent levy growth limit caps growth in property tax revenue from regular levies by the lesser of 1 percent or the rate of inflation per year plus the value of new construction.


In Every Corner of the State, Washingtonians Rely on the Affordable Care Act for their Health

Posted by Melinda Young-Flynn at Jan 20, 2017 02:30 PM |
By Misha Werschkul, executive director
Washington state has long been a leader in improving health coverage for people of all ages. The health of our residents is threatened by Congress’s proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement. Nearly 800,000 Washingtonians stand to lose their health insurance coverage through the repeal of Medicaid expansion, the end of subsidies that help Washingtonians afford coverage through the health insurance exchanges, and the likely collapse of the individual health insurance market.

A repeal of the ACA would be devastating for people in cities and towns across Washington. People and families from all backgrounds would lose the opportunity to receive preventative care, to see a doctor when they’re sick, or to have access to life-saving medications and treatments. In addition, the ACA repeal would trigger a dramatic reduction in federal funding that currently pays for health care for Washingtonians and cause job losses in health care and other sectors.

Below is a breakdown of how people would be impacted by geography and by race and ethnicity. [1]


Because it is the most populated county in our state, King County is home to the largest number of those hurt by an ACA repeal. Over 200,000 people – or approximately a quarter of the Washingtonians who would lose coverage – live in King County. (See the map below for more information about how many people would lose coverage by county.)

Yet the loss of health coverage would be felt most significantly in rural and eastern Washington. In fact, more than 20 percent of adults of six rural counties (Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Okanogan, Pacific, Pend Oreille, and Yakima counties) currently receive health coverage through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. [2] Further, many Washingtonians also receive subsidies to help them afford  health coverage through Washington Health Plan Finder, which is part of the Affordable Care Act. So ultimately, at least 40 percent of adults rely on the ACA in six counties in our state (Adams, Franklin, Grant, Okanagan, Pacific, and Yakima). 

The congressional districts with the largest percentage of residents hurt by the repeal are districts 4 and 5 in eastern Washington – which includes Spokane, Walla Walla, and the Tri-Cities. 

Click on graphic to see an enlarged version of the map.

ACA impact by county

Race and ethnicity: 

The majority – approximately 65 percent – of adults who would lose coverage are white. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would nevertheless disproportionately harm Black, Latino, and Asian Pacific Islander Washingtonians since approximately one in five Black, Latino, and Asian Pacific Islander adults in Washington would lose coverage, compared to approximately one in ten white adults. It is important to note that both prior to and with the Affordable Care Act, people of color are more likely to face barriers to getting health coverage due to a history of exclusionary policies, such as lower rates of employer-sponsored insurance among professions that traditionally employ more people of color. 

The Affordable Care Act helped reduce racial disparities in health insurance coverage and the ACA repeal would reverse this progress. (For more information about nationwide gaps in coverage by race and ethnicity, see this Kaiser Family Foundation policy brief. )

But the numbers only tell part of the story. Please tell your story about your own experience with the Affordable Care Act to ensure that consumer voices are at the center of our country’s health care debate.

1. Data provided by the Washington State Office of Financial Management and the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. 2. The definition of adult in this data is a person who is between 19 and 64 years old.

A Look at How the Governor’s Budget Invests in Progress

Posted by Kelli Smith at Dec 16, 2016 01:10 PM |
Filed under: State Budget, State Revenue
By Andy Nicholas, associate director of fiscal policy, and Kelli Smith, policy analyst

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee’s proposal for the upcoming 2017-2019 state budget would help move our state forward by improving health care services, funding great schools, investing in early learning, and taking big steps to make sure Washingtonians have clean air and water. His budget invests in progress for our state and its people, and that should be the aim of legislators when they gather in January 2017 to begin their work on crafting the state budget.


As we wrote previously, Inslee proposes to pay for much-needed investments in schools and in communities across Washington state with forward-thinking, equitable changes to the state’s tax code like a state capital gains tax. Ultimately, the revenue plan would generate $4.4 billion in new revenue in the coming two-year budget cycle. 


The chart below shows the new investments included in Inslee’s budget by the value areas included in our Progress Index framework. Major changes in each area are described below.

Click on image to enlarge.



Education represents the largest area of new investment in the governor’s proposed budget. His proposal would increase funding in education by 15.3 percent ($3.7 billion). The bulk of new funding in this area would go to public K-12 schools and would increase base teacher salaries, reduce class sizes, and expand learning assistance and mentoring programs, among other things. Major changes to K-12 funding are detailed in our previous analysis. Other new investments in education include:

  • Making higher education more affordable: The proposal would keep tuition at universities, community colleges, and technical colleges at current levels – rather than allowing them to grow by up to 2.2 percent in the coming budget. It would also expand financial aid to an additional 14,000 aspiring students from families with low incomes.
  • Expanding opportunities for young kids to access high-quality early learning: The governor’s budget ensures that more than 2,700 more children have access to the Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP). It would also provide state-funded early learning facilities with more of the resources they need to provide preschool education, and health and nutrition services.  

Healthy People and Environment

Inslee’s budget would increase investments that provide access to important health programs, protect public health, and keep our air clean and our water safe by 7.5 percent ($784 million). Major new investments in this area include:

  • Improving mental health services: In response to a federal lawsuit that found that conditions at Washington’s underfunded psychiatric hospitals are inadequate, the budget would add funding for additional staff and for other important changes to improve these hospitals and bring them into compliance. The budget would also make new investments in community mental health services.
  • Providing treatment to thousands of people living with hepatitis C: Nearly 6,000 people receiving health coverage through Medicaid would receive groundbreaking treatment to cure them of hepatitis C. Not only would increased access to treatment help stem the spread of hepatitis C, but it would also allow these individuals to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.
  • Improving public health: The governor’s plan would provide a boost to local public health agencies to fight the spread of infectious diseases and to help communities remain healthy.
  • Fighting air pollution: Inslee’s carbon tax is designed to reduce carbon pollution – the major cause of global warming – in communities across the state. A large share of the revenues from the tax would be invested in clean energy infrastructure and technology needed to help Washington transition to a low-carbon economy. Inslee’s proposal would provide funding necessary to implement the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Clean Air Rule, which requires reductions in carbon emissions and other hazardous air pollutants.

Economic security

Investments that promote an economy in which all Washingtonians can meet their basic needs and have opportunities to remain stable during a personal financial crisis or economic downturn would be increased by 6.7 percent ($66 million). Major new investments in this area include:

  • Removing barriers for people who need assistance to keep and find a job: Families that participate in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which provides child care, job training, and cash assistance to help parents with lower incomes find a job, would get a 7.5 percent boost in cash assistance, increasing the average amount to $659 per month. Cash assistance for people with lower incomes who are seniors, vision-impaired, or who have a disability would also be increased to $400 per month from $197 per month. Arbitrary limits that currently prevent thousands of Washingtonians from accessing these services would be eliminated.
  • Improving access to child care for working parents: The budget would take important steps toward improving access for child care through Working Connections Child Care by making increased investments in child care services and in higher pay for providers to help retain great child care workers.
  • Expanding access to supports for those who can’t afford higher energy bills: The carbon tax proposed by the governor, which would help fund schools, transportation, and low-carbon energy infrastructure projects, would increase the price of gasoline, electricity, and natural gas for many Washingtonians. To offset costs for those who can’t afford a significant increase in their utility bills, the governor’s proposal would make the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) available to 29,500 households that don’t currently qualify to participate in the program. LIHEAP reduces utility bills for lower-income households.
  • Reducing homelessness: Temporary rent assistance for homeless families with children would be expanded under the proposal. Other services and housing programs for families and individuals would also be increased. 

Community Development & Trust

Investments that increase Washingtonians’ safety, enhance public spaces that we all enjoy, and foster trust in state government would be increased by 5 percent ($318 million). Notable new investments in this area include:

  • Improving the democratic process through free and fair elections: The governor’s budget invests in upgraded technology to improve the accuracy of the state’s voter database and guarantee reliable and accessible voter registration.
  • Increasing access to the legal process for Washingtonians without the means to pay for it: The governor’s budget includes investments to increase capacity in the Washington State Office of Civil Legal Aid, which oversees the provision of legal representation for residents with low incomes in matters such as child custody, housing, consumer fraud, and elder abuse. The budget also boosts funding for the Office of Public Defense, which manages the provision of legal representation to residents with low incomes in criminal matters. 
  • Improving public and community spaces and promoting outdoor recreation: The proposal invests in maintaining and streamlining public access to clean and beautiful state parks, increasing prevention measures to protect Washington’s historic structures and campgrounds, and promoting outdoor play and environmental education among Washington’s youth.

To be clear, there are aspects of the governor’s budget proposal that require further analysis. For example, how would his plan addresses systemic racism as well as chronic underfunding of services and infrastructure in communities of color across Washington state? We will be working with partner organizations to assess these and other issues in our analyses of the governor’s proposed budget and the legislature’s proposed budgets in the weeks and months ahead.

But the vision for Washington that the governor’s budget proposal represents is a powerful framework for building the kind of thriving communities we all want to see in our state. As lawmakers include their own priorities when they gather in the upcoming legislative session to build the 2017-2019 state budget, they should embrace the boldness of Gov. Inslee’s proposal.

And for the Budget & Policy Center’s suggestions on how lawmakers can go even further when it comes to cleaning up our tax code, read the “What Else Needs to Be Done” section in our analysis on the governor’s revenue proposal.  


Governor Proposes Bold Plan to Invest in Kids, Clean Up Tax Code

By Andy Nicholas, associate director of fiscal policy, and Kelli Smith, policy analyst
Great public schools are not only the key to providing Washington’s kids with an opportunity for a bright future; they are also the foundations of a prosperous state. Governor Inslee’s revenue proposal offers a clear vision of how to fulfill the Supreme Court’s McCleary school funding mandate in a way that builds solid economic groundwork for generations to come.

Inslee’s bold proposal would boost investments in schools by $3.9 billion in the coming 2017-2019 state budget. This proposal makes the right choice: to prioritize investing in Washington’s children now in order to strengthen our state’s communities and economy in the future.

Investing in Great Schools 

With regard to K-12 public schools, the proposal would not only finish the job on McCleary, but it would also make additional investments in creating world-class schools. For example, his plan aims to:

  • Invest in educators ($2.7 billion): The governor’s budget includes funding to provide competitive wages to recruit and retain teachers, administrators, and classified staff – which is the most significant item that remains to be funded under McCleary. The plan will bring beginning teacher and staff pay up over the next two school years. It creates a new salary allocation model that will compensate teachers and staff not just for years of experience and degrees earned, but also for meeting professional development goals. The budget also seeks to provide teachers with opportunities for training, mentoring, and career advancement as well as with improved health benefits. Further, it will invest in training opportunities to recruit more teachers who represent communities that are often underrepresented, in particular bilingual teachers.
  • Close the opportunity gap ($867 million): The governor’s proposal would take steps to ensure all kids have equal opportunities to thrive, including nearly half a billion dollars to staff new, smaller kindergarten through third-grade classrooms. Plus it includes targeted investments in social and emotional health supports for students, a learning assistance program that helps struggling students from families with low incomes, and individualized support for foster care youth. 

Making Progress Toward Cleaning Up the Tax Code 

To generate the additional resources needed to build a brighter future for all Washingtonians, Inslee proposes important steps toward cleaning up and rebalancing the state’s upside-down tax code – a tax code in which the people with the lowest incomes pay seven times more in taxes as a share of personal income than the richest 1 percent. These steps include:

  • Enacting a tax on high-end capital gains ($821 million): Capital gains, which are profits from the sale of corporate stocks and bonds and other financial assets, would be subject to a 7.9 percent tax. The first $25,000 ($50,000 for a married couple) in capital gains would be exempt from taxation. As we’ve written about extensively, capital gains are more heavily concentrated among the very richest households – which means the tax would almost exclusively affect only the richest 2 percent of Washingtonians. 
  • Eliminating six wasteful tax breaks ($320 million): The proposal would eliminate a sales tax exemption for cars valued at more than $10,000 when traded in to a dealership. (Only the portion valued at more than $10,000 would be subject to the tax.) A Real Estate Excise Tax exemption claimed by banks on properties sold at foreclosure would be eliminated. The sales tax would be extended to purchases of bottled water. (Bottled water sold to people who do not have access to potable water would remain exempt.) A sales tax exemption claimed by Oregonians and residents of other states or countries with low (or no) sales tax would be converted to a refund program in which individuals would have to apply for the exemption. A sales tax exemption claimed by oil refineries on fuel used to power their operations would be repealed. The business and occupation (B&O) tax would be applied to certain out-of-state retailers that avoid collecting sales taxes by exploiting a loophole in federal law. 
  • Resetting business tax rates on personal and professional services ($2.3 billion): In the mid-1990s, personal and professional services – such as cosmetic services, financial advice, music instruction, attorney services, and business consulting – were subject to a B&O tax rate of 2.5 percent. Policymakers have since reduced the rate to 1.5 percent, although it was briefly boosted to 1.8 percent during the Recession. Inslee would restore the rate to 2.5 percent, but would expand a tax credit for small businesses and raise the minimum amount of business income required to file B&O taxes to $100,000 per year. 
  • Enacting a new tax on carbon pollution ($1.1 billion): Carbon emissions – the major cause of global warming – from fossil fuel distributors and refineries, power companies, and energy intensive manufacturers would be subject to a new $25 per ton tax. About half of the revenue would be dedicated to schools; the other half would go to investments in clean energy, water infrastructure, transportation, and efforts to reduce costs to businesses and households with lower incomes.
  • Reducing property taxes for three-fourths of households and businesses statewide: About $250 million of the additional state tax resources from other parts of the governor’s proposal would be used to reduce local school district property taxes. Under the plan, residents living in 119 school districts (those with significant local property tax levies) would see their property taxes reduced. Even with these reductions, all school districts would receive significant overall increases in education funding. 

What Else Needs to Be Done 

While Inslee’s revenue reforms would make a dramatic step toward a better future for all Washingtonians, the governor and policymakers should also consider the following reforms to make even greater progress toward a more fair and sustainable state tax code: 

  • Create a more equitable and adequate property tax system: A law that arbitrarily restricts property tax revenue growth to 1 percent per year must be eliminated. In the current year, the result of this law is that more than $1.6 billion in resources that would otherwise be used to fund schools is being left on the table. The governor and policymakers should also consider a long overdue increase in the state property tax levy paired with new rebates to offset costs for middle- and lower-income homeowners and renters.
  • Fund the Working Families Tax Rebate (WFTR): Fully funding the WFTR, a Washington state version of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, would reduce taxes for more than 400,000 hardworking families in Washington state. Doing so would also help alleviate the higher fuel and energy bills these households would experience under the proposed carbon tax. 
  • Apply a higher rate to the capital gains tax: Given the many investments needed to create a just and prosperous state, policymakers should consider generating more resources from the capital gains tax. Applying a rate of 9.9 percent – the highest rate applied to capital gains in Oregon – or higher would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional resources for schools and other priorities. 

We applaud the governor’s investments toward creating excellent schools that benefit our kids and thereby strengthen the future of our state for all of us. This proposal makes the kind of investments necessary to ensure that our kids are taught by qualified and engaged educators and that kids who need the most help have access to supports in and out of the classroom. The plan also prioritizes thriving communities by cleaning up the tax code and getting rid of wasteful tax breaks. When we invest in the foundations that benefit us all, we can help to create a better Washington.

Stay tuned for additional analysis about how the governor’s budget proposal as a whole would impact our communities. 


The Future We Want: The Washington State Budget & Policy Center Announces Our 2017-2019 Legislative Agenda

Posted by Julie Watts at Dec 12, 2016 03:30 PM |

Great schools, strong communities, healthy families: these are the things Washingtonians care about. Everyone wants this to be a state where kids can meet their full potential, where everyone can breathe clean air and drink clean water, and where everyone can succeed.

In the face of big changes on the national landscape, now more than ever it is important that state policymakers work to ensure the future of Washington as a place where all people can lead safe, happy, and healthy lives. The decisions they make now will influence the well-being of people in Washington for years to come.

How do we create a better future for our state? The Washington State Budget & Policy Center’s 2017-2019 Legislative Agenda offers a framework for how policymakers can ensure that every child, every family, every individual, and every community in our state can thrive.

Starting in January, state policymakers must take action to deliver a world-class basic education to every child. This will require cleaning up the tax code and avoiding distractions that take attention away from efforts to make sure every kid in Washington state has access to great schools. It is imperative that policymakers accomplish this task while also dedicating resources to priorities that make Washington a great place to live, from early learning to long-term care, from school breakfast for kids to night classes for their parents.

We know that basic education will dominate the conversation this legislative session. We also know that kids can’t succeed if their parents are struggling to meet their basic needs, if their neighborhoods aren’t safe, and if their communities aren’t healthy. That is why our Legislative Agenda is focused on building a better Washington through the six key areas laid out in our Progress Index: world-class education; economic security, healthy people and environment; community development and trust; good jobs; and revenue. The recommendations within our agenda also aim to promote policies that advance racial equity. The Budget & Policy Center Legislative Agenda offers specific recommendations for how lawmakers can:

  • Build economic security by addressing intergenerational poverty, strengthening support for families, and making sure everyone can afford a roof over their head and food on the table.
  • Create a world-class education system that provides kids with high-quality teachers, gives them a great start through early learning, and offers equitable access to higher education.
  • Ensure everyone has access to affordable health care, as well as mental health and public health services; make sure that everyone lives in an environment with clean air, water, and land.
  • Develop strong communities and racial equity while addressing barriers to re-entry and ensuring access to civil legal assistance; ensure that there’s greater transparency about our state’s tax breaks.
  • Promote great jobs that stimulate economic growth and development, and advance opportunities for all workers to have paid time off to be with their families.
  • Clean up the state’s tax code so that our state has the resources it needs to support a high quality of life for everyone.

Throughout the legislative session, which begins January 9, and beyond, the Budget & Policy Center will work with partner organizations, community leaders, and grassroots advocates to advance the priorities laid out in this agenda. Our research and analysis will continue to show policymakers why it is critical to invest in the progress of our state and its people – especially in the face of proposed federal policies that threaten to move us backward rather than forward. 

Hundreds of Thousands of Washingtonians Would Lose Health Coverage with Federal Affordable Care Act Repeal

Posted by Melinda Young-Flynn at Dec 09, 2016 06:21 PM |

Congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. plan to move quickly in January 2017 to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without enacting a replacement. Such a move would be devastating to the health and well-being of thousands of Washingtonians. It would set our state and its people on a path backward rather than forward. 

In fact, new analysis from the Urban Institute reveals the disastrous impact of a federal ACA repeal on Washington’s families, health care providers, and economy. Here are some key findings:  

  • 775,000 Washingtonians stand to lose their health insurance coverage if the ACA is repealed. Most of the coverage loss would occur among families with at least one worker and among people without college degrees.
  • The number of uninsured Washingtonians would more than double, from 508,000 today to 1,283,000 after a repeal. 
  • The number of uninsured would be even larger than the number uninsured prior to enactment of the ACA due to the likely collapse of the individual health insurance market with the repeal of the individual mandate and premium assistance programs.
  • Washington would lose $3.5 billion in federal funding for health care in 2019, and $42.8 billion between 2019 and 2028.

Washington state has been a leader in implementing the ACA, including establishing a new state health insurance marketplace, the Washington Health Plan Finder, and covering hundreds of thousands of people through Medicaid expansion. These efforts have helped so many Washingtonians have the opportunity to see a doctor or get medicine when they’re sick. Now, this federal proposal threatens to leave individuals in our state extremely vulnerable in terms of both health outcomes and financial security. 

The Washington State Budget & Policy Center is tracking potential federal policy changes and their impact on Washingtonians and on our efforts to build a stronger, more prosperous, and equitable state. Stay tuned for more analysis from us and our national partners on proposed federal changes. 

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Roxana_BMC_plenary_2016View the Budget Matters 2016 conference plenary, "What's at Stake in the 2017-2019 Budget: Funding McCleary and Beyond." Moderated by Ann Dornfeld of KUOW, the plenary features Nathan Gibbs-Bowling, the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year; Lew Moore of the Washington Research Council; Roxana Norouzi of OneAmerica; and Sen. Christine Rolfes. The plenary starts after an intro by Executive Director Misha Werschkul and an intro video by Gov. Inslee.