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Underfunding college shifts burden, debt to students

Commentary | September 20, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

It’s no surprise that higher education is getting more expensive in this country. But it might be a surprise that it doesn’t have to, if we’d fund education properly. Instead, we encourage students to make up for funding shortfalls with student loans, impeding their ability to buy a home, have children or save for their retirement.

A good education shouldn’t be a matter of wealth

Commentary | September 6, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

This segregated system of private and public schools undermines the sense of common purpose and common commitment to education. People who pay more than $30,000 a year for their kid’s private school have no interest in funding public education for the masses.

Labor Day is a Time for Coming Together

Commentary | September 2, 2017 | By Marilyn Watkins | South Seattle Emerald

Seattle and Washington State now have some of the most progressive labor laws in the country, with a higher minimum wage, a right to paid sick days, fair scheduling in Seattle, and in a couple years, paid family and medical leave for every worker in the state. Coalitions of community groups, labor unions, and working people came together with elected leaders to develop and enact these standards.

Did the City Attorney’s Office Discourage the Income Tax It Now Has to Defend?

News Coverage | September 1, 2017 | Seattle Weekly

In early 2016, John Burbank, executive director of the non-profit Economic Opportunity Institute, wrote to Councilmember Mike O’Brien requesting a meeting to discuss “the idea of a privilege tax on the wealthy.”

Seattle Is a City With Hella Broke People

News Coverage | August 31, 2017 | The Stranger

Gene Balk has done it again. He noticed important information about our city—this time from tax data, analyzed by the Economic Opportunity Institute—and it shows that over 51 percent of Seattle residents earned less than $50,000 in 2014. This is not all. Those who earn the kind of money you need not to be rent-burdened, nearly $100,000, made up only 19 percent of tax filers.

A city of riches? Most Seattle filers make less than $50K, IRS data show

News Coverage | August 30, 2017 | Seattle Times

For all Seattle’s newfound affluence, there are still a whole lot of folks living paycheck to paycheck. That’s no surprise, of course — but here’s some new data that bring this economic reality into sharp focus. The numbers come from a new analysis of IRS data by the Economic Opportunity Institute.

Seattle to pay up to $250,000 for legal help in defending new city income tax

News Coverage | August 24, 2017 | Seattle Times

Seattle signed a nearly $50,000 consultant contract with income-tax proponent John Burbank of the progressive Economic Opportunity Institute for help developing and defending the measure, Mercier said. Burbank on Wednesday called that payment well-earned because the organization brought the city “legal, financial forecasting and policy expertise.”

Burbank: Ryan’s tax-break offer will get a warm Boeing welcome

Commentary | August 23, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Boeing gets huge tax breaks in Washington. And it’s hemorrhaging jobs. Taxpayers are basically paying Boeing to lay people off. Paul Ryan is like the Big Bad Wolf trying to convince the Three Little Pigs that investing in a slaughterhouse will turn their fortunes around.

Dear New York: Thanks for Stealing Seattle’s Ideas in Taxing the Rich

Commentary | August 15, 2017 | By John Burbank | Huffington Post

It’s not the first time New York has copied us. Back in 2011, Seattle passed an ordinance mandating paid sick days for workers in our city. That ordinance became the template for New York City’s paid sick days law. Starbucks is the most popular coffee shop in Manhattan. And you’re starting to think polyamory is hip.

Burbank: Choked skies a whiff of what’s to come under Trump

Commentary | August 9, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

China, drowning in smog, is now the leader in solar and wind energy innovation, copying the American playbook from 50 years ago. While Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accord, the rest of the world is moving towards renewable energy and buying Chinese technology to implement it. If we allow the Trump administration to lower regulations on fossil fuels, we are not only losing environmental gains — we’re also giving China a competitive edge.

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