The Columbian published an opinion - editorial by Executive Director Paola Maranan on September 26, 2010. The piece addresses some misinformation being spread by the soda company-backed Initiative 1107.
2010 Legislative Session
In good times and bad, we advocate for laws and policies that support our state’s most vulnerable children – especially those in low-income families and communities of color. Our key challenge during the 2010 legislative session was to protect vital services for children and families from budget cuts that could have erased decades of progress. We achieved remarkable success on many levels this year, preserving critical support systems for families weathering the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Read our 2010 Legislative Session Review for an in-depth look at our victories for kids across Washington state and the challenges that lie ahead.
Lawmakers in Olympia are considering establishing a Washington Food Policy Forum, currently sponsored by Sen. Ken Jacobson, Senate Bill 6343. Linda Stone, senior food policy coordinator of the Children's Alliance, and Jim Baird, a farmer in the Royal City area, discuss why the Forum would address food costs, access to healthy food and finding ways to support local farms. They write:
WE'RE IN THE NEWS: ANALYSIS: HOW SOFT DRINK LOBBY'S VICTORY IN WA MATTERS TO NATIONAL SODA TAX DEBATE
The Olympia Newswire continues its coverage of a proposed Washington state soda tax with an analysis of how efforts in this state join initiatives in other states and cities around the country to tax sugar-sweetened beverages.
A proposal enacting a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to restore funding for health and dental services draws support from some advocates, including the Children's Alliance, and criticism from the soda industry. Olympia Newswire reviews the history of soda industry tax exemptions and how current lobbying efforts may remove the proposal from the table.
The latest proposal to extend the sales tax to candy, now exempt as a food item, is drawing both opposition and support in Olympia. The Children's Alliance supports the proposal, which would use the revenue from taxed candy to restore medical and dental programs for children. Teresa Mosqueda, advocacy & legislative relations for the Children's Alliance, says:
“We can no longer afford to subsidize candy and sweets. These items are not food items.”
As the Washington Legislature debates enacting a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, three guests columnists in health care professions make their case for supporting a tax that would both save taxpayers money, reduce childhood obesity, and provide basic health care, nutrition and health-related educational programs.
Benjamin Danielson, M.D., vice president of the Children's Alliance board, David Fleming, M.D., director and health officer of Public
Health-Seattle & King County, and Lenna L. Liu, M.D., pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital write:
The latest tax proposals from the House, Senate and Governor Gregoire place many child and family programs on the chopping block. Child advocates, including the Children's Alliance, are urging lawmakers to consider the effects on business if child care funding for over 7,000 low-income families is cut.
Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children's Alliance, says:
Parents count on Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) to help them cover the high cost of child care so they can go to work or job training. If projected cuts to WCCC were put in place, in addition to harming stability and continuity of care for children, it would not result in cost savings. An estimated 25% of WCCC families (325 families) who lose their child care subsidy would be unable to work and would be forced turn to the support of TANF.
Senate and House lawmakers have rightly proposed budgets that raise substantial new revenue to protect some of the vital services that are helping children and families weather this punishing recession. But more revenue is needed to prevent devastating cuts to safety-net programs that, if enacted, would hurt families and pose serious threats to our state’s economic recovery.
As lawmakers work in Olympia, the Children's Alliance and the Rebuilding Our Economic Future Coalition, of which the Children's Alliance is a member, continue to advocate for offsetting painful cuts with new revenue.
Jon Gould, the Children’s Alliance Deputy Director, pointed out that HB 3183, has more elements than just a sales tax increase for the general fund. The bill would also direct new revenue to highway projects and public transportation.
Lawmakers are debating ways to adopt a balanced budget by March 11th—they can either cut services, raise revenue, or do a combination of both. We support a balanced approach that includes significant new revenues. Delaying action is not an option. Read more about why kids need revenue now.
Kids who rely on school meals during the school year often go without
the nutrition they need during the summer months. A small, up-front investment can draw millions in federal funds to help curb summer hunger for Washington kids. By chipping in $250,000, the state could leverage up to $4 million in federal funds to expand summer meal sites in a dozen communities across Washington.
January 13, 2010 — Gov. Chris Gregoire’s revised budget rightly protects Apple Health for Kids, Maternity Support Services and some other vital programs that are helping Washington families weather this grueling recession. But many critical investments remain in jeopardy.
The Seattle Times invited the Children's Alliance and a handful of other organizations to write an oped giving state lawmakers advice for the upcoming session.
We urged them not to turn their backs on the children and families who need them most. "If we do," Executive Director Paola Maranan wrote, "we would only create problems that become costlier to solve down the road."