COVID-19: Billionaires' Wealth Skyrockets as WA Budget Crashes
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
SEATTLE -- During the pandemic, Washington's billionaires have made enough money to cover the state's 2021 budget shortfall -- with $85 billion to spare.
According to a new analysis, Washington's 12 billionaires added nearly $90 billion to their wealth between mid-March and mid-June -- the second-highest amount in the country, behind California. Meanwhile, the state predicts a $4.5 billion hole in next year's budget.
Frank Clemente, executive director of the group Americans for Tax Fairness, which co-wrote the report, said the shortfall means slashing budgets for education, housing, and food and nutrition programs.
"The inequities, the inequality that's happening in this era in America is astonishing, and it needs a remedy," he said.
The report was co-authored by the Economic Opportunity Institute and Health Care for America Now. Nationwide, it said, billionaires' wealth increased $584 billion between mid-March and mid-June. During this period, 1.3 million Washingtonians lost their jobs. Health Care for America Now executive director Margarida Jorge said that's bad news for their health insurance.
"We will expect that a lot of those people are going to lose their employer-sponsored coverage," she said. "Even people who are laid off, their job isn't permanently terminated; during the time that they're laid off, if they're going to retain their health care, they're going to have to pay the full cost of it."
Clemente said the CARES Act, passed in March to provide coronavirus relief, included a tax break for the country's millionaires. He said he wants the Senate to approve the HEROES Act, which would repeal that tax break.
"If we repeal that giveaway, we raise $250 billion. That's a quarter of a trillion dollars we would raise," he said. "That's money that could go directly into more services for folks at the community level, family level. It'd pay for extended unemployment benefits, things like that."
Clemente said he hopes Congress can pass the HEROES Act before its next recess begins on Aug. 7.
The analysis on growth in billionaires' wealth is online at opportunityinstitute.org, and the study on wealth growth vs. state budget shortfalls is at americansfortaxfairness.org.
get more stories like this via email
The Iowa League of Women Voters plans to ask the Iowa Legislature to rethink the voting restrictions put in place prior to last month's midterm electi…
Agriculture groups and government agencies aren't slowing down in trying to convince farmers to use more sustainable practices such as cover crops…
Winter is here, leaving many older South Dakotans vulnerable to social isolation. But a growing body of research, as well as opportunities, shows …
By Jala Forest / Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan Reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration Nearly 40% of college students a…
The Biden administration has proposed a rule to limit methane flaring from oil and gas development on public lands. The rule would impose royalty …
The flu, COVID and RSV are rapidly spreading in Kentucky, and health experts say that's a problem for hospitals, schools and the state's vulnerable …
As its 125th anniversary nears, the Connecticut Audubon Society has released a report detailing the effectiveness of conservation efforts in the …
2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …