, ,

State Treasurer, Prosperity Now Announce Partnership to Study Wealth Inequity in Washington

State of Washington flag

OLYMPIA – State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti and Prosperity Now Chief Executive Officer Gary Cunningham today announced a new partnership to review socioeconomic disparities in Washington state and the impact of wealth inequities on the lives of Washingtonians.

“It’s clear that growing wealth gaps pose a significant challenge to the future of our state treasury in the decades ahead if Washington state doesn’t get in front of this issue. Today’s partnership with Prosperity Now is an important first step to attain the data needed to develop the policy that will ensure long-term treasury stability and hope for the next generation that they can have access to economic opportunity,” said Treasurer Pellicciotti.

Recognizing the economic impact of growing wealth inequity, the Legislature commissioned the comprehensive study in the 2022 supplemental budget to, “…gather data on [wealth] inequities including racial wealth gaps in Washington and examine how investment programs such as the Washington future fund program or similar ‘baby bonds’ investment programs can impact wealth inequities and the future financial stability of the Washington state treasury.”

“Wealth inequality, especially by race, is a major issue in Washington state and throughout the U.S.,” said Cunningham, President and CEO of Prosperity Now. “We are glad to bring our policy and research expertise to bear to support Treasurer Pellicciotti’s efforts to gather and analyze data on this crucial issue and develop a Baby Bonds policy to address it. Baby Bonds are a critical policy tool for leveling the playing field so that all children—regardless of their household’s economic situation—have the capital they need to build a successful future.”

Once completed, the study will inform the work of the Washington Future Fund Committee as they evaluate and develop potential investment models to address rural and racial wealth inequities, including the “baby bonds” model as proposed by economists Darrick Hamilton and William “Sandy” Darity, Jr. The committee was established by the Legislature and named after request legislation proposed by the Office of the State Treasurer and sponsored by Representative Monica Stonier and Senator Yasmin Trudeau in the 2022 session.