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Letter from economic & policy experts to Washington State budget leaders

With Washington State’s official revenue forecast due for release today, more than a dozen economic and policy experts sent this letter – which lays out their preferred approach to economic recovery – to Governor Inslee and budget leaders.


Dear Governor Inslee, Speaker Jinkins, Majority Leader Billig, Senators Frockt and Rolfes,  Representatives Ormsby and Tarleton:     

Washington will likely see one of its worst economic forecasts in the state’s history due to the  coronavirus lockdown and record high unemployment leading to a collapse in consumer spending, and record low revenue projections as a result of our state’s over-reliance on consumer spending to  generate revenue.    

Drawing upon decades of sound economic theory and observation of other economic cycles, we  believe the best response to the looming recession is to increase long-term investments in  education, health care, infrastructure, and economic security. According to the ​Center for American  Progress​, states that keep money flowing during recessions recover faster than those that lay off  employees and stop money from circulating among families, businesses, and communities. And these investments will build a more productive, secure workforce that will be the foundation for a  stronger economy in the long run.    

Washington has the opportunity to enact new taxes on the wealthiest Washingtonians and profitable corporations, avoiding deep and damaging cuts to community investments that would only worsen the downward economic spiral. New revenue sources are needed to save families and small  businesses from bankruptcy, to ensure quality education and health care, and to keep communities from falling through the cracks. Significant cuts in government spending and investment in public  projects and infrastructure will especially impact workers and families of color. Those who faced  financial instability before the pandemic will feel the greatest impact, setting Washington’s communities back for years to come.

Tax and spending cuts often fail to stimulate spending as promised. Ensuring the wealthiest pay for investments is the most productive and effective way to kickstart economic recovery and rebuild the  state’s economy.      

We commend you for considering the full range of options available during this unprecedented  crisis.     


Christian Anderson, Associate Professor of Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and  Sciences, University of Washington Bothell 

Katie Baird, Professor of Economics, Division of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, University of Washington  Tacoma 

Katherine Beckett, Chair and Professor, Law, Societies, and Justice Department, University of Washington     

Kyle Crowder, Blumstein-Jordan Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Washington     

Alexes Harris, UW Presidential Term Professor, Professor of Sociology, University of Washington     

Heather Hill, Associate Professor, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, University of Washington     

Marieka Klawitter, Professor of Public Policy and Governance, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance,  University of Washington    

Melissa L. Martinson, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Washington   

Andy Nicholas, Senior Fellow, Washington Budget & Policy Center    

Robert Plotnick, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington     Sarah Quinn  Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Washington    

Becki Smith, Director of Work Structures, National Employment Law Project    

Alexander Rist, Economist, King County     

Jennifer Romich, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Washington   

Marilyn Watkins, Policy Director, Economic Opportunity Institute     

Nathalie Williams, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Jackson School of International Studies,  University of Washington    

Thomas Womeldorff, Member of the Faculty, Economics, The Evergreen State College  

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