Late last week, the regular legislative session ended, and Governor Jay Inslee called legislators back to work, starting this Wednesday, to accomplish the critical task of writing the next two-year operating budget.
State legislators and engaged Washingtonians have made tremendous progress over the past four months in building the kind of future Washington’s kids deserve. Both chambers of the Legislature passed their respective versions of the Early Start Act, which makes historic investments in the first five years of life.
From the Children's Alliance news page:
Advocates for children and families in Washington applauded the U.S. Senate for passing a bill yesterday that extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years.
The vote follows passage of identical legislation in the House. It demonstrates that members of Congress overwhelmingly support the CHIP program and understand it is vital to keeping kids across the country healthy.
“This vote demonstrates the overwhelming popularity of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and for getting kids the health coverage they need to succeed,” said Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children’s Alliance.
All children deserve a great start in life. But our state’s tax system puts too many of them in harm’s way. Our tax system is:
Inequitable. Washington’s tax system is the most regressive in the nation: Low-income families pay a much higher proportion of their income than do wealthy families. The racial wealth gap means that children of color are also more likely to live in households that bear a disproportionate share of responsibility for our state’s basic services.
Regressive taxation hurts kids of all racial/ethnic backgrounds, because 4 out of 10 Washington children live in a disproportionately tax-burdened low- or moderate-income home.
House and Senate budget leaders have each released their guiding documents for state spending over the next two years. Here’s a summary of how they address priorities for Washington’s kids:
Resolving that no child’s future should be hindered by inadequate nutrition, the House would restore full funding to food assistance for qualified immigrant families. The Senate maintains funding at current levels, 25 percent less than federal food stamps.
Our public policies—the laws, budgets, rules and other decisions of elected representatives—can either help kids succeed or put obstacles in their path. Racial equity assessment tools can shape our public choices so that they enhance every child’s access to opportunity.