Kids should be priority in budget debate
As legislators try to reconcile a $2 billion budget shortfall, the status of children in Washington should weigh heavily on their minds. Today we launched a new partnership with the Children’s Alliance, KIDS COUNT in Washington, to help improve young lives. Together, we gather and analyze the best emerging data on how kids are doing in our state, and then turn that information into action on issues like poverty, hunger, health care, education and racial equity.
Our new KIDS COUNT report, State of Washington’s Children, shows that kids in our state remain vulnerable in the weak economy, with several indicators of well-being showing significant room for improvement:
- Unemployment among parents has doubled since 2007 (Figure 1);
- One in four kids (25 percent) are not getting the food they need to thrive;
- Over 100,000 children lack health insurance; and
- Almost one out of every five kids do not graduate on time from high school.
Public investments are critical to provide greater economic security for children, and improve their education and health outcomes. But without additional revenue, cuts will be made that further diminish the opportunity for kids in Washington to live up to their full potential in school and life.
We have choices. Short-term solutions, like raising the sales tax, will prevent cuts to programs that are essential for kids’ well-being. In the long-term, we can implement a capital gains tax that will provide greater stability to our revenue system so that we can maintain our investment in kids. Read our Framework for Prosperity to get more ideas on how to keep Washington a place where all children can thrive.