Wednesday Governor Jay Inslee visited with low-income workers in Yakima, as well as college students at CWU in Ellensburg, in support of his goal to bring back a never-used state tax rebate program.

As early as January 1st 2015, Inslee voiced his desire to give new life to the Working Families Tax Rebate, or WFTR, which was passed in 2008. However, the program was never funded, so it never went into effect.

According to the Seattle Times,  it would give low-income workers and families an annual one-time check for $223 in the name of a "tax break."  In order to get this "tax break," recipients must also qualify for the Federal Earned Income Credit (ECI).

The EIC only applies to families who make in the neighborhood of $47,000 a year or less with three or more children, $44,000 with two, $39K with one, or $14,000 or less with no children.  While married-filing-jointly figures are slightly higher, the EIC and the WFTR pretty much eliminate anyone making over $50K a year for the household; which is a big chunk of the middle class in our state.

According to Inslee, the WFTR would benefit about 450,000 low-income families in our state.  But how he plans to pay for it will surely run into GOP opposition in the legislature.

According to the Times:

"....the Democratic governor’s ideas are sure to face a chilly reception in the Republican-controlled state Senate — especially since Inslee wants to pay for the $108 million-a-year rebate program with new charges on carbon pollution. (Bold lettering added for emphasis). 

Critics say Inslee’s controversial cap-and-trade proposal, aimed at combating global climate change, would only boost costs at the gasoline pump and elsewhere."

So, Inslee wants to basically use a global warming tax to pay for a "rebate", but the higher pump prices will hurt everyone - including the families he is trying to help.

Former Governor Chris Gregoire was successful in getting the original WFTR pushed through Olympia 7 years ago, but in following legislative sessions, the GOP and opposition were able to defeat legislation that would have funded the program.

Inslee believes it won't hurt the state budget if he uses this "carbon" or global warming tax to pay for the program.  Critics say it's nothing more than a shameless attempt at redistribution of wealth, and the positive economic impacts would be virtually non-existent.


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