Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Media Digest 2-25-2010

Anonymous (not verified) 02/25/10
In this edition you'll find stories about the state House and Senate budget proposals and opinion pieces calling for more revenue to offset deep cuts -- a push that the Children's Alliance and other members of the Rebuilding Our Economic Future Coalition strongly support. You'll also read about the importance of early dental care and a study theorizing why pay for early learning teachers remains so low.
Rebuilding Our Economic Future Coalition: New Revenue Too Little, New Cuts Too Deep I Public News Service I 2-24-2010
Budget-balancing resembles high-wire juggling for Washington
state lawmakers lately. Both the House and Senate released their budget
proposals on Tuesday; both include raising similar amounts of revenue -
under $1 billion - to close a budget shortfall of $2.8 billion. Each
proposal is already being scrutinized and coming up lacking. The
grassroots group Fuse Washington says the budgets are generally aiming
in the right direction, although they continue to rely heavily on
deeper cuts to education, health and senior services.
Too Many Cuts, Too Few Taxes: The State Legislature’s Budget Proposals Are Out of Balance I Olympia Newswire I 2-23-2010
Mark your calendar. Tuesday, February 23, 2010 was the high
water mark in our state government’s efforts to preserve Washington’s
health, education and human-services infrastructure against the ravages
of the Great Recession. From here, things will only get worse.
'Will of the people' often subjected to tinkering | Seattle Times I 2-24-2010
As Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill clearing the way for tax
increases Wednesday, the outcry was strong, just as it has been for the
past several weeks as the measure inched through the Legislature. ...
This is hardly the first time lawmakers have gone against the "will of
the people" as expressed by initiatives. In the past decade, state
lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — have poked holes in
voter-approved initiatives that restrained state spending, gave
automatic raises to teachers and demanded more money for public
schools, among others.
Opinion: Balancing state budget with cuts only would hurt the economy more than help I Seattle Times I 2-24-2010
For the second year in a row, state lawmakers are faced with
unprecedented budget challenges, thanks mostly to the national
recession that has been deeper and more prolonged than initially
projected. ... From our perspective as economists and small-business
owners, we're concerned about our state's economic recovery and about
preserving and creating jobs. We believe another year of only budget
cuts would further undermine our recovery.
Opinion: Legislature is right to suspend I-960 and raise revenue I seattlepi.com I 2-24-2010
The wailing and gnashing of teeth over suspending Initiative
960, which requires legislative super-majorities to close tax loopholes
and raise revenue, are enough to bring tears to your eyes -- if you
happen to be a crocodile. ... The battle over the state budget and
I-960 goes to the heart of what democracy, self-government and
community are about -- and whether that community has a heart and a
head.
Opinion: No more cuts, please/No más recortes, por favor I El Sol de Yakima I 2-23-2010
Washington State needs to invest in working families if we want a
strong sustainable economy.  For the second year in a row, the national
recession has put our state in a very tough spot.  Last year the
legislature's response was a one-sided approach that slashed funding in
housing, education, and healthcare to the tune of $3.6 billion.
Olympia's tax plans: How they'd affect you I Seattle Times I 2-24-2010
Senate Democrats on Tuesday proposed something that hasn't
happened in 27 years — a general sales-tax increase. The Senate plan
would raise $918 million in new revenue overall, with roughly a third
of that coming from a three-tenths-of-a-cent increase in the state
sales tax (to 6.8 cents) until June 30, 2013. The rest of the money
would come from boosting the cigarette tax and closing tax exemptions.
Editorial: Dental care for all must start early I The Herald I 2-24-2010
The Pew Center released a study showing that at least one in
five U.S. children go without annual dental care and most states lack
key policies to ensure access to cost-saving preventive treatments. Pew
officials note that Americans will spend $106 billion on dentistry this
year. Much of it pays for costly treatments such as fillings and root
canals, which have their origins in poor childhood dental care.
Two U.S. Child Care Markets Help Keep Early Learning Salaries Down I Birth to Thrive I 2-23-2010
Early learning teachers earn far less than they are worth –
often $18,000 a year – and one of the reasons, and flaws in the
economics of their industry, is that there are actually two child care
markets, one expert says.
Opinion: No more cuts, please/No más recortes, por favor I El Sol de Yakima I 2-23-2010
En Espanol

Washington State needs to invest in working families if we want a strong sustainable economy.  For the second year in a row, the national recession has put our state in a very tough spot.  Last year the legislature's response was a one-sided approach that slashed funding in housing, education, and healthcare to the tune of $3.6 billion. With the economy still recovering, the state now faces an additional budget gap of $2.6 billion.

This year we need to balance the scales.  We need to raise revenue to help protect affordable housing, education, health care and many of the services that are essential to producing a stable workforce and rebuilding a strong economy for the future.

Thousands of people in this state are already on the brink.  Since the recession our unemployment rate has nearly doubled to 9.5% - that’s 334,774 Washingtonians!  Thousands of more people will be directly worse off if the legislature enacts more shortsighted budget cuts.  And disproportionately, these will be people of color.  We know that on average people of color in Washington earn less, pay a higher percent of their income in taxes and have less access to affordable housing, education, health care, and justice than their anglo counterparts.  Farmworkers help contribute an estimated $8.4 billion/year to Washington’s agricultural economy, yet many still live in substandard housing and lack health insurance.

We have to remember that as the Legislature tackles this second round of tough budget decisions, it's critical they focus on the impact their decisions will have on our communities.  It's a sobering reminder that as brutal as this recession has been for so many Washingtonians, it has been particularly brutal for people of color.  Many Latino families ended up with subprime mortgages and Latino borrowers were more likely to receive higher-rate loans than similarly-situated non-Latino anglo borrowers for mortgages used to purchase homes.

This is the time when families need a helping hand and not cuts to services.  Making deeper budget cuts would only make things worse.  It would cause our state to lose another 33,600 private and public sector jobs.  More cuts would deny a safe, decent home to working families and kids and prevent aspiring students from attending college. 

This economic crisis should serve as a wakeup call.  We need to start addressing the inequities in our state’s tax system and let our legislators know that working families can no longer afford further cuts to vital services.  A strong economy starts with a healthy, educated workforce.