In this edition, you'll find an opinion piece urging state lawmakers to close tax loopholes and protect core services that keep Washington thriving and an article outlining state lawmakers' newest revenue proposal to tax beer and candy. You'll also read articles about Gov. Gregoire signing a law that improves child care subsidies and a call to Congress to improve the quality of school meals, relieve hunger, and reduce obesity by reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act.
Taxpayers bailed out banks in trouble because of risky behaviors, notes guest columnist Beverly Spears, director of the Statewide Poverty Action Network. Now is not the time for the Washington Legislature to cut core services to those taxpayers while continuing preferential tax treatment for the banks. There is a connection between funding environmental protection, child care and other core services, and ensuring that Washington remains a place where employers will want to do business.
The Senate Democrats’ new revenue proposal raises nearly $58 million from a higher beer tax and about $29 million more by adding the sales tax to candy and gum sales. The beer, candy and sales taxes are pieces of an overall strategy to raise $816 million over the next 14 months by raising some business taxes and closing tax loopholes. The Senate’s newest proposal includes a business and occupations tax credit for in-state candy producers.
Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill into law that will help
working parents by reforming the state’s child care subsidy system,
making it easier for children to remain with the same providers and for
parents and the state to manage the aid.
It is probably too much to hope that the more than 30 million
school lunches served every day will taste absolutely fabulous. But
Congress should at least make certain that whatever lands on those
cafeteria trays is nutritious and safe to eat. Every day it delays doing
so is another mealtime when millions of students are cheated of
programs that could help relieve hunger and reduce obesity.
All in one night -- February 11 -- 10,484 eligible children were enrolled into Louisiana's Medicaid program through a new CHIPRA option called Express Lane Eligibility. How it works: Children who qualify for SNAP are in families whose incomes make them eligible for Medicare, but a significant proportion are likely to be uninsured. Express Lane Eligibility borrows SNAP's information, removes children who are already covered by Medicare, and then determines eligibility and enrolls children without going through a repetitive process.
Research shows that education investments in the earliest years
of life make the greatest difference in the educational outcomes of
children and can have a long-term impact on the workforce and citizenry
of the United States. Yet today's education policies do not reflect that
understanding. This report, authored by Lisa Guernsey and Sara Mead of
the New America Foundation, envisions a new “PreK-3rd” education system
that lowers the starting point for public education from age 5 to age 3
and erases the artificial divide between “preschool” and “k-12.”
Karen Kraut, Director of the Tax Fairness Organizing
Collaborative, says long-term effects of budget cuts are damaging:
people become sicker due to lost health care coverage which means
greater suffering, lost work days and productivity, and costlier medical
treatment down the road. Calls for a balanced approach, Kraus argues, steer us
wisely away from a cuts only vicious cycle. Calls for a more “balanced”
approach—that mixes some cuts with some new revenue—steer us wisely away
from a cuts only vicious cycle.
By now I hope you’ve seen the first two episodes of my new show
on ABC, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. If you’ve seen it, I hope
you’ve realized that this revolution isn’t about me. It’s about
you—moms (parents, really) who care about their children—who care about
giving them the best opportunities life has to offer them. As a parent
and a chef, I want to tell you it starts with fresh food.