Schmudget Blog
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$15 Minimum Wage: Good for Workers, Good for Our Economy

Posted by Lori Pfingst at Jun 03, 2014 11:20 PM |

Yesterday, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted in favor of gradually increasing the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next seven years. The boost will benefit Seattle workers, their families, and our regional economy.

After four decades of stagnant wages, the vote is a bold step in the right direction. Due to the high cost of living,  an individual or family living in Seattle and working full-time earning the current minimum wage of $9.32 an hour is unable to meet basic needs – such as housing, food, transportation, and utilities (see graph).  People earning the minimum wage must forgo basic needs, or rely on government assistance just to make ends meet. 

min_wage_pass

With a gradual increase to $15, workers will find it easier to meet basic needs over time. Individuals will benefit the most, eventually being able to move beyond the basics and save a little extra for a car, house, or education – purchases that build toward an economically secure future and strengthen the economy.  Importantly, a minimum wage of $15 is still not a living wage for a parent raising children, but families will be able to meet a greater share of basic needs than before.

After decades of stagnant wages and a declining middle class, $15 an hour will benefit all of us. However, raising the minimum wage is one step within a broader strategy to invest in workers, rebuild the middle class, and strengthen the economy.  Other strategies – including affordable child care and housing, paid sick and family leave, and transportation – are gaining traction nationally and locally, which would give workers and their families’ greater opportunity to prosper, the benefits of which would ripple throughout communities, businesses, and the economy.


Video of Our Event - Equity, Opportunity, and Funding in Education

Posted by Tara Lee at Jun 03, 2014 09:35 AM |

More than 100 people joined us for a great conversation at Town Hall Seattle last week, "Addressing Equity, Opportunity, and Funding in Washington State's Education System."

The event, moderated by Paola Maranan of the Children's Alliance, was taped by TVW. You can watch it here.

Many thanks to our panelists for an interesting and thoughtful discussion.

  • Rep. Ross Hunter, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee
  • Shawn Lewis, Education Funding Specialist, Washington Education Association
  • Sharonne Navas, Director, Equity in Education Coalition
  • Frank Ordway, Government Relations Director, League of Education Voters

Thank you to our sponsoring organizations: Centerstone; Children's Alliance; Community and Parents for Public Schools; Equity in Education Coalition; League of Education Voters; Progressive Majority; OneAmerica; SEIU 1199NW; SEIU 925; Somali Youth and Family Club; Statewide Poverty Action Network; UFCW 21; the Washington Bus; Washington CAN!; and Win Win Network.

Check out the full video of the event on TVW.

Ed event

Join us Tomorrow Night for a Special Event on Education

Posted by Tara Lee at May 28, 2014 11:25 AM |
Filed under: BPC News

Addressing Equity, Opportunity, and Funding in Washington State's Education System  
Thursday, May 29th at Town Hall Seattle, 7:30 p.m.

School funding and improving educational outcomes for all our kids are some of the most talked about – and contentious – issues in the state, and will be for years to come. 

Tomorrow night we are hosting an important and timely conversation with some of the key voices in the debate as we unpack the State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and what it means for the budget and our kids. In particular, we’ll look at options for better funding education and the importance of addressing equity issues from early learning through college. 

Click here to register now. Tickets are $5.

Joining us for the conversation will be:

  • Rep. Ross Hunter, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee;
  • Shawn Lewis, Education Funding Specialist, Washington Education Association;
  • Sharonne Navas, Director, Equity in Education Coalition;
  • Frank Ordway, Government Relations Director, League of Education Voters;
  • Paola Maranan, Executive Director, Children's Alliance (moderator).

In 2012 the State Supreme Court ruled that the state was failing its paramount constitutional duty of funding basic education and ordered the legislature to increase school funding by 2018. Estimates indicate that the legislature will have to come up with at least $4.5 billion in new education funding to meet the decision. 

Two years later, how much progress has been made? How will the state meet is funding requirements for education while also making other critical investments in the state budget? How can we strengthen the entire educational pipeline to ensure better outcomes for all our kids? What is the opportunity gap and how can we better address it? At the event, we’ll begin to unpack some of these crucial questions.

We hope to see you tomorrow night at Town Hall Seattle.

Tickets are $5. Click here to register

Updated McCleary  


Now Hiring: Part-Time Office Coordinator

Posted by Tara Lee at May 22, 2014 08:15 PM |
Filed under: BPC News

We are seeking a part-time (20 hours/week, with full medical benefits, generous vacation/sick and a retirement contribution) highly-organized Office Coordinator to keep the daily activities and organizational operations running smoothly.  The successful candidate will thrive on the details.

Central to this role is the support of a passionate and fun staff and the office we work in. This support comes in the form of ensuring that the systems of the office, relationships with vendors, and file maintenance are always in the greatest condition and any technology problems that arise are handled in a timely manner. This position will also support the logistics of internal and external events.

Responsibilities

  • Serve as the human resources point person and prepare new staff and contractor packets and administer employee benefit enrollment.
  • With board and Executive Director, maintain employment policies.
  • Manage relationships with all vendors (including building management and any internal office needs).
  • Maintain organization file system and purge records as needed.
  • Manage office inventory and related budgets to ensure that internal operations run smoothly.
  •  IT and Systems – Continuous upkeep and improvement of our technological needs and systems for the organization and acting as the point person with our technology partners.
  • Supervises maintenance of office equipment.  This includes copier, postage meter, phone, computer, server, etc. Assist with financial record keeping as needed.
  • Manage logistics for board meetings, staff retreat and committee meetings.
  • Support external events by assisting Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs and Development Manager
  • Coordinate with Development Manager to collect and distribute mail.

Qualifications

  • Experience working with outside vendors and managing relationships
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated attention to detail
  • Ability to manage and prioritize multiple needs and responsibilities
  • Ability to handle confidential and sensitive matters professionally
  • Proficiency with Excel

Desired qualifications include:

  • AA or BA Degree
Additional skills such as, nonprofit management, human resources, IT, Quickbooks, and proof-reading a plus, but not required.

Salary and Benefits

This is a part-time position. This position is non-exempt with an hourly rate of $19.23. The Budget & Policy Center offers a comprehensive benefits package to part-time employees, including health and dental insurance, retirement, flexible spending accounts and generous vacation, sick leave, and holiday schedules.

To Apply

Position is open until filled but candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. To apply, submit a resume, a 1-2 page cover letter specifically addressing your interest in and qualifications for this position, and a list of three current references by email to jobs@budgetandpolicy.org.

The Budget & Policy Center is committed to fostering diversity within our organization and our communities and candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

State-to-State Migration is Driven by Jobs, Climate, and Family. Not Taxes.

Posted by Andy Nicholas at May 08, 2014 08:00 PM |
Filed under: State Revenue

State taxes played no significant role in explaining interstate migration trends since 1998, according to a new study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). The study found that few people have chosen to move from one state to another in recent years, but those who did made the move to find good jobs, enjoy their retirement years in a warm climate, or to be closer to family members. 

These findings are particularly relevant here in Washington state as policymakers grapple with the state Supreme Court’s “McCleary” ruling, which found that basic education continues to be short-changed billions of dollars in essential funding each year. The report makes it clear that modestly increasing taxes on the wealthiest households in Washington state would be the best approach to raising the additional resources needed to fund basic education.

Some argue that the absence of a personal income tax in Washington makes the state more attractive to high-income households from other states, like California that do have income taxes. However, the report shows that a significantly larger number of Californians moved to Oregon, which has a relatively high personal income tax, than to Washington state in recent years. According to the study:

“Some 105,000 households moved from California to income-tax-levying Oregon between 1993 and 2011; that is almost a third more than the 79,000 households (net) that moved to no-income-tax Washington.  The greater flow to Oregon than to Washington casts even greater doubt on the “voting with their feet” thesis when one takes into account what is likely a strong employment pipeline between the many Internet-related firms in California’s Silicon Valley and the high-tech cluster in the Seattle area centered around Microsoft and Amazon.  Given this relationship one might reasonably have expected much larger net migration from California to Washington than from California to Oregon.  Washington also lost households on net to its income-tax-levying neighbor Idaho.”    

CBPP’s analysis of IRS and U.S. Census bureau data, and a wide body of academic research shows:

  • Relatively few Americans relocate from state to state, and a miniscule share of them report that they moved because of taxes.
  • People who do move are nearly as likely to move from low-tax states to high-tax states as in the other direction — in some cases, more likely.
  • Primarily low- and moderate-income households, not high-income households, are migrating to states without income taxes.
  • Climate is a major driver of interstate migration; people — especially retirees — continue to move from cold, snowy states to Sunbelt states regardless of the tax levels in either the origin or destination state.
  • Reductions in housing costs, not taxes, are what save families the most money when they move from states like New York and California to states like Texas and Florida.

The bottom line is that the best way to fully fund basic education in Washington state would be to modestly raise taxes on those at the very top of the income scale. CBPP’s report makes it clear that policymakers can no longer use the “if we tax them  they’ll flee” argument as an excuse for inaction on reforming the state’s outdated and inequitable tax system.

Read the full report.

Correction, May 8, 2014, 2:30pm: The initial post stated that greater numbers of wealthy Californians moved to Oregon than Washington state. However, the CBPP study did not report the income levels of Californians moving to Oregon and Washington state. It simply showed that more Californians moved to Oregon than to Washington state since 1998. 

Our New Policy Analyst

Posted by Tara Lee at May 07, 2014 09:20 PM |
Filed under: BPC News

We are pleased to announce that Elena Hernandez is joining our team as a policy analyst. Elena has worked with us in various capacities over the past few years as a Research Assistant and was our 2012- 2013 Betty Jane Narver Fellow. She was also an intern at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington D.C.

 “I am so excited that our investment in new voices entering the policy area (through the Betty Jane Narver Fellowship) has resulted in helping to launch Elena’s career in public policy,” says Executive Director Remy Trupin. “She is a great addition to our team and I look forward to her many contributions to our work.”  

Prior to joining us, Elena worked for six years with a diversity outreach program at the University of Washington called the Genomics Outreach for Minorities (GenOM) Project.  She holds a B.A. in Law, Societies, & Justice from the University of Washington and will earn her Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from the UW’s Evans School of Public Affairs in June 2014.

Elena focuses on anti-poverty policy.

 

Register Now for Unpacking McCleary at Town Hall

Posted by Ben Secord at May 06, 2014 02:25 PM |
Filed under: Education

Addressing Equity, Opportunity, and Funding in Washington State's Education System  
Thursday, May 29th at Town Hall Seattle, 7:30 p.m.

School funding and improving educational outcomes for all our kids are some of the most talked about – and contentious – issues in the state, and will be for years to come. 

We have put together a conversation on May 29th at Town Hall with some of the key voices in the debate as we unpack the State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and what it means for the budget and our kids. In particular, we’ll look at options for better funding education and the importance of addressing equity issues from early learning through college. 

Click here to register now. Tickets are $5.

Joining us for the conversation will be:

  • Rep. Ross Hunter, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee;
  • Shawn Lewis, Education Funding Specialist, Washington Education Association;
  • Sharonne Navas, Director, Equity in Education Coalition;
  • Frank Ordway, Government Relations Director, League of Education Voters;
  • Paola Maranan, Executive Director, Children's Alliance (moderator).

In 2012 the State Supreme Court ruled that the state was failing its paramount constitutional duty of funding basic education and ordered the legislature to increase school funding by 2018. Estimates indicate that the legislature will have to come up with at least $4.5 billion in new education funding to meet the decision. 

Two years later, how much progress has been made? How will the state meet is funding requirements for education while also making other critical investments in the state budget? How can we strengthen the entire educational pipeline to ensure better outcomes for all our kids? What is the opportunity gap and how can we better address it? At the event, we’ll begin to unpack some of these crucial questions.

We hope to see you on Thursday, May 29th at Town Hall Seattle.

Tickets are $5. Click here to register.  

A special thank you to our event co-sponsors: Children’s Alliance, Equity in Education Coalition, League of Education Voters, OneAmerica, Poverty Action Network, Progressive Majority Washington, SEIU 925, SEIU 1199NW, Washington Bus, Washington Community Action Network
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HIGHLIGHTS

Legislative Testimony

Senior Budget Analyst Kim Justice recently testified before Senate Ways and Means against a bill that would fund education at the expense of other budget investments. Watch it here. 

Kim 5881

Inside Olympia

Executive Director Remy Trupin appeared on TVW's "Inside Olympia" to discuss the budget, revenue options, and the impact of the McCleary decision going forward. The whole interview can be found here. 

Remy TVW -March 14


Budget Matters 2013

More than 300 people -- advocates, students, lawmakers, and policy experts joined us for our second annual policy conference. We heard from Heather McGhee, Jared Bernstein, and Governor Inslee.

Click here for video clips, photos, and PowerPoint presentations from the break-out sessions.

Our new video has highlights from the day. 

Heather McGhee


Save the date for this year's conference: Friday, December 12th, 2014 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.