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We must back taxes if we want smaller classes

Commentary | July 15, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Last November, Washington voters passed Initiative 1351, which directed the Legislature to allocate funding for smaller K-12 class sizes, with extra class-size reductions in high-poverty schools. That was the law. But what did our Legislature do? After refusing to fund the law, they changed it.

Greater tasks ahead than just lowering a flag

Commentary | July 8, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

In our state, black citizens are six times more likely to be incarcerated and lose their right to vote than whites. The net worth of white households is thirteen times the net worth of black households. Among fourth graders, only 50 percent of low-income African Americans are reading at grade level. One-third of African Americans don't graduate from high school. So the question before us is not merely that symbol of oppression, the Confederate flag.

Running state on a sales tax grinds us down

Commentary | June 17, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

It's a good time to talk about money, who has it and who doesn't, especially with the Legislature at loggerheads about the budget. Why? Because the taxes that fund our state's budget come largely from the money we all spend. Notice I said “money we all spend,” not “money we all make”?

A Long Overdue (Economic) Gift For Our Fathers

Commentary | June 15, 2015 | By Marilyn Watkins | South Seattle Emerald

As this Father’s Day approaches, I’m reminded that just as struggling moms need fair pay and paid family leave a lot more than flowers, fathers need these policies, too –more than a new tie or camping toaster.

What if we set a maximum wage for CEOs?

Commentary | June 3, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

It's an ode to cognitive dissonance when pundits come out swinging (rhetorically) against a strong minimum wage or decent pensions for everyday working people but don't even bat an eyelash at big-time CEOs who take home millions of dollars a year or outsource local jobs — especially when the economic evidence for the former, and against the latter, is so strong.

In Our View: Take Charge of the Future

Commentary | June 1, 2015 | The Columbian

As John Burbank of the Economic Opportunity Institute wrote in an opinion piece for The (Everett) Herald: "Pensions did not make retirees wealthy . . . but they did keep retirees economically secure."

State makes it easier to save for retirement

Commentary | May 20, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

While we may think that the Legislature is stuck in limbo, it is good to recognize that it enacted a new policy to make it easier for workers and employers to establish retirement savings plans and put money into those plans.

We can assure a good quality of life for all

Commentary | May 7, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Could we in Washington state make it possible for all citizens to earn enough for a good quality of life and be able to enjoy an peaceful retirement? Of course. The problem is that most money is migrating to the very top, leaving middle class incomes stagnant.

A state income tax would meet budget needs

Commentary | April 22, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Neither party has a long-term plan for fully funding K-12 education, higher education, mental health, public employee contracts and teacher cost-of-living adjustments. Why not? Because neither party has the will to implement systemic changes in our tax system. But, as our state treasurer, Jim McIntire, states, “it is mathematically impossible to sustain any education system with our state's shrinking tax base.”

Burbank: Closing tax loopholes could do a lot of good

Commentary | April 8, 2015 | Sequim Gazette

Our state’s public structures and services are the oil of our economic engine. From roads to bridges, preschool to college, veterans benefits to senior services, and protections for our air and drinking water, we’re all better off when we invest in strong communities. But there’s a big red warning light on our dashboard: Low Oil.

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