Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Media Digest 02-16-2011

Christina 02/16/11

In this week’s edition, Washington’s immigrants fight for health care for all children, the state imposes a waiting list for child care, and the 15 percent income assistance reduction holds back progress for a once-homeless family. In other news, a poll suggests that a bill cancelling special interest tax breaks to save basic health would win overwhelming public support.

Child Care Rules Tighten Again in Washington State | Birth to Thrive (Thrive by Five Washington blog) | 02-16-2011
The Working Connections Child Care program will award subsidies on a first come first serve basis, as long as families qualify by earning 175 percent or less than the federal poverty line… Once the program hits its limit on aid, it will place qualified households on a waiting list for the first time in more than 20 years… according to Jon Gould, deputy director of the Seattle-based Children’s Alliance.: “Closing the door to child care assistance forces working parents out of their jobs. Removing children from child care or pre-school disrupts their learning. Child care assistance gives parents the opportunity to get ahead and improves their children’s chances of success in school and in life.”
Immigrants rally against cuts | Tacoma News Tribune | 02-10-2011
“The well-being of Washington state is intertwined with the well-being of our new American communities,” said Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, speaking at the rally, which was organized by an advocacy group called One¬America. Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed budget would cut health insurance for 27,000 undocumented children, eliminate state funding for medical interpreters, cut job preparation programs for refugees and do away with state-funded services that help legal immigrants and low-income refugees get citizenship. Also, since December, six bills have been introduced in the Legislature that would verify people’s immigration status before issuing them driver’s licenses.
Once homeless residents to plead for safety net | The Spokesman-Review | 02-13-2011
Jaclyn Coyle and her two small children nearly ended up on the street after divorce and foreclosure obliterated their middle-class existence…. Coyle now receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families under the state’s WorkFirst program, which provides welfare while she looks for a job. Her grant for a family of three was just reduced 15 percent…. Coyle also receives the state’s Working Connections child care subsidy. But once she finds a job she will have to reapply for the subsidy. Under new cost-saving rules imposed by the state this year, it appears unlikely she will remain eligible. “Then why would I try to become employed if I am going to remain in poverty?” Coyle asks.
Unemployed get temporary pay bump; businesses get tax break | Tacoma News Tribune / Associated Press | 02-12-2011
The new law includes a $25-a-week pay increase to about 140,000 people claiming unemployment between March and November of this year, Gregoire said. The pay bump is temporary, though. That money is being drawn from nearly $100 million the state is getting from the federal government due to changes in unemployment law. Pay increase to the unemployed will be capped at $68 million. Once that money runs out, the benefit increase will no longer exist. “It’s a good bill for Washington businesses,” Gregoire said during signing of the bills. “It’s a good bill for Washington workers.”
Lack of Tax Expenditure Oversight Allows Costs to Grow out of Control | Washington Budget & Policy Center | 02-11-2011
Now more than ever, policymakers and the public are taking a careful look at all public spending choices we make in Washington state. Tax expenditures should not be the exception; they should be treated like any other form of state spending.
New Poll Shows Strong Support for Ditching Tax Breaks to Save Basic Health | Slog (The Stranger blog) | 02-14-2011
That's a total of 62 percent in support of the proposal, and only 29 percent opposed. In a real election, we'd call that a landslide…And the bill is as pragmatic as it is noncontroversial. Eliminating Basic Health would lose the state millions in federal dollars, while just costing us more in the long term as dollars shift from preventative care and early treatment to the emergency room... not to mention the cost in human suffering.
Refugees in Washington already feeling budget cuts | The Columbian | 02-12-2011
But Gov. Chris Gregoire has proposed cutting key programs that provide English classes, job search help, and naturalization orientation to refugees. The state has already imposed a 15 percent reduction in monthly cash benefits refugees receive. Refugee advocates are worried that decreasing help will put refugees at risk of homelessness. They also say that cutting English and job search help will stall a refugee's resettlement progress.
State health battle brewing | The Columbian | 02-13-2011
The debate over Washington’s role in implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is playing out in Olympia this session in dueling bills and in a climate of legal uncertainty. It’s also happening against a high-stakes political backdrop: Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire and Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, an all-but-announced candidate for governor in 2012, are on opposite sides of the volatile health reform issue.