Dear friends and neighbors,

We had a great event in the Senate this Monday – Children’s Day – when legislators and staff get to bring the children in their lives to work and pass bills with kids joining us on the floor. I spoke to a good bill we passed updating the Working Families Tax Credit – one of the best policies we have on the books, providing a cash payment tax credit to more than 180,000 Washington families.

That’s important, because for many years, Washington had the WORST and most regressive tax code of any state in the country. Thanks to the Working Families Tax Credit and our capital gains tax on the profits from the sale of stocks, bonds, and other financial assets — which only about 3,300 of the richest Washingtonians pay — our ranking is finally improving! Progress feels slow, certainly slower than it should be, but we are truly moving forward on fixing our upside-down tax code.

Unfortunately, all that progress is at risk this year.

The initiatives

The Legislature has six initiatives before it this year – repealing our Climate Commitment Act, repealing our capital gains tax, allowing opt-out of our long-term care program (which would cause major financial destabilization), expanding police authority to conduct high speed chases of suspects, banning income taxes at the state and local levels, and enumerating parental rights in education. The Legislature has the opportunity to pass these initiatives ourselves, let them go to the November ballot for voters to decide upon, or pass an alternative to the initiative that goes to the ballot along with the underlying initiative.

We know what the impact of the initiatives repealing the Climate Commitment Act, the capital gains tax, and weakening the long-term care program would be, and they would be devastating. The Legislature will not be passing them, and we’ll be letting them go to the ballot.

For example, repealing the capital gains tax would absolutely devastate efforts to provide affordable childcare, early learning, and other K-12 programs in communities throughout Washington. A fiscal note from the Department of Revenue found that a repeal of the capital gains tax would slash more than $5 billion between now and 2029 from programs that so many kids, families and businesses rely on. It would set our state back a decade or more.

For many parents, these programs are essential for them to have a family and a career. For businesses, these programs are needed to meet their workforce needs. For kids, early learning is the best way to get a productive and healthy start to their education and their life. The capital gains tax is paid by only about 3,300 of the richest households in our state, but all eight million Washingtonians see its benefits every day.

Or for the initiative to repeal the Climate Commitment Act — the investments we’re funding are already providing major benefits to the people of Washington. Washington is leading the way to a cleaner, greener future, and we can’t stop our climate progress. We need to defeat climate change and rein in the pollution that the oil and gas industry is causing across our state and nation. The Climate Commitment Act is how we make that happen.

Likewise, if the initiative on long-term cares passes, it will take away more than $8 billion in guaranteed long-term care benefits for millions of hard-working Washingtonians. An independent actuarial analysis shows that the initiative will make the state long-term care benefits program unsustainable and go bankrupt. This is really an attempt to eliminate the entire program, taking away a critical benefit from millions of Washingtonians and leaving people at the mercy of big for-profit insurance companies that routinely delay or deny coverage and habitually increase premiums.

With the other three initiatives, however, it’s a lot less clear what their effect will be – that’s why we’re planning on holding committee hearings on them next week. For example, nearly all of what’s in the parental rights initiative is already current law and is good, uncontroversial policy. Parents deserve to know what their children are learning and be involved in what’s happening in school. But I want to know from our nonpartisan staff and other experts whether there are concerns about what effect it could have on LGBTQ+ children or on access to a full range of needed health care services. On these other three proposals, we need to learn more. Similarly, while we do not have an income tax proposal on the books, and the current initiative wouldn’t prohibit us from introducing one in the future, the language of the Initiative is so overly broad, I fear it may put many of our current revenue sources at risk, including the capital gains tax. Holding a hearing to get clarification on that and other concerns will be critical.

I hope this helps clarify what’s going on with these initiatives and what my stance is. There isn’t much time left in session, and this will be one of the major topics we have left to discuss. If you have thoughts, feel free to reach out to me at I always appreciate your thoughts and input. In the meantime, we’ll keep in touch. Thank you so much for reading!

Sen. Noel Frame