In this week’s edition, hundreds stand strong for kids at Children’s Alliance’s annual Have a Heart for Kids Day and a state legislator speaks up for greater scrutiny of tax breaks. In other news, ECEAP stands in jeopardy of disappearing for 662 children, quality child care should be integrated into the education system, and the Bellingham School District upholds all-day kindergarten.
Parent ambassadors advocate with Children’s Alliance | WSA Head Start & ECEAP (blog) | 02-24-2011
Parent Ambassadors joined families and supporters of the Children’s Alliance on the Capital steps this week. With the state facing major budget cuts to programs like ECEAP, Apple Health for Kids and Working Connections Child Care, current and past Parent Ambassadors stood strong and advocated for funding of these programs. Thank you to Bianca Bailey, Immaculate Ferreria-Allah, April Ritter Terry, Rob Atherton, Wayne Ueda, John McClure, David McCormick for attending Have a Heart for Kids Day and continually support advocacy work for Washington’s children and families.
Tax breaks need scrutiny | The Spokesman-Review | 02-19-2011
As a freshman legislator, I often feel like a rookie relief pitcher, knowing the home team is counting on me to make the right decisions. One of those decisions is my sponsorship of legislation that will create a closer examination of tax exemptions, institute sunset dates so continuing tax preferences are required to be reauthorized at regular intervals and eliminate tax exemptions that can’t be justified. These measures will protect funding for our kids and communities, and bring more accountability and transparency to the tax exemption system.
Health-care workers protest bank tax breaks | Yakima Herald-Republic | 02-24-2011
About 30 nurses, health-care workers and community advocates staged the rally to symbolically ask bank officials in Yakima to return tax breaks as a way to maintain funding for various state health-care programs
Repeal hundreds of tax exemptions | Pubicola.com | 02-24-2011
State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Ballard) introduced a bill yesterday that would repeal hundreds of sales and B&O tax exemptions and mandate that they become part of the regular budget process as state expenditures.
Medicaid block grants would be risky for our state | Washington State Budget & Policy Center (Schmudget blog) | 02-24-2011
Under a block grant, federal funding would no longer increase automatically to help cover unanticipated costs. These costs would be borne by our state as we struggle to recover from the Great Recession.
Apply renewal dates to tax expenditures | Washington State Budget & Policy Center (Schmudget blog) | 02-22-2011
While spending on public services must be re-appropriated every two years, most tax expenditures have no effective renewal or termination date. One way to increase accountability in the state budget process would be to establish renewal dates for all existing, reenacted and newly proposed tax expenditures.
What about integrating child care and early education? | Birth to Thrive (Thrive by Five Washington blog) | 02-25-2011
Clearly, there is a lot of work going on to coordinate child care and preschool, including new quality rating systems and research. But, an editorial in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest suggests there is a long way to go to create integrated systems among child care, early education and Head Start. In this country early education and child care together are a “fragmented nonsystem” that’s effective but could be a lot better, according to the commentary.
Budget Shortfalls May Affect Child Care Assistance Program | The Daily Evergreen | 02-23-2011
Gov. Chris Gregoire’s newest proposed budget cuts would eliminate $9 million in funding from ECEAP, which would remove 662 kids from the program, specifically 3-year-olds, said Joel Ryan, executive director of the Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP… here are more than 4,000 kids on a waiting list for ECEAP, and now the governor’s proposing even deeper cuts, Ryan said. These cuts are not yet on a bill, but are part of the proposed two-year budget that will likely be voted on in April, he said.
Bellingham to offer free full-time kindergarten this year for some, next year for all | The Bellingham Herald | 02-23-2011
Bellingham Superintendent Greg Baker announced earlier this year that he wanted to offer a free full-time kindergarten program for the 2011-12 school year because he believes early childhood education is important to a student's later success.