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Passed Senate Budget: Worst Budget For Vulnerable People

Posted by Kim Justice at Mar 07, 2012 02:50 PM |

With just one day left in the regular legislative session, policymakers are mulling over three budget proposals. Of all three, the budget that passed off the Senate floor late last week cuts the most from public education, health, and economic security.

Supporters of this budget claim that it protects the most vulnerable.(1) Not so—unless you don’t consider people who have a disability to be vulnerable. Or people who are homeless. Or children at risk of entering the foster care system. 

The facts are clear: The budget  proposal that passed off the Senate floor cuts the most from vulnerable populations: over three times more than the Senate Chair’s budget, and over twice the amount in the House budget (see graph below).(2)

           Senate R vulnerable2

Under the Senate budget that passed off the floor:

  • Over 15,000 people who cannot work due to a disability would lose their medical care.
  • 4,000 low-income working parents would lose child care support.
  • 2,000 families would lose work supports, child care and income assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
  • Funding to support financial assistance and asset building for people with low incomes would be eliminated.
  • 12,000 low-income legal immigrants would lose food assistance.

For more detail on cuts, see table below.

There are better ways to balance a budget than placing the burden on our most vulnerable populations. Strong social support systems ensure all people can meet basic needs in times of hardship. These investments  help people improve their lives and help our economy recover.

As we’ve said before, there is a better path forward. Reform of our revenue system is the single most important factor in building a sustainable state budget. Smart, systemic change to our revenue structure can be accomplished through a new tax on capital gains, by strengthening our Rainy Day Fund, reducing taxes for lower and middle income families through the Working Families Tax Rebate, and bringing tax breaks in-line with the rest of the budget by requiring regular re-authorization and measurement. 

cuts table 3 budgets

1.    2012 Budget Tidbit #2- Bipartisan Senate Budget, Sen. Joe Zarelli.

2.    The House and Senate have both passed budgets out of their respective chambers. The budget proposal released by the Chair of Senate Ways and Means remains in committee.

 

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HIGHLIGHTS

Watch the Budget Matters Plenary 

View the Budget Matters 2016 conference plenary panel, "What's at Stake in the 2017-2019 Budget: Funding McCleary and Beyond," on TVW. Moderated by Ann Dornfeld of KUOW with a budget overview by our own Andy Nicholas, the panel features Nathan Gibbs-Bowling, the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year; Lew Moore of the Washington Research Council; Roxana Norouzi of OneAmerica; and Sen. Christine Rolfes. The plenary starts after a brief intro by Executive Director Misha Werschkul and an intro video by Gov. Inslee.

Our Legislative Agenda

Our agenda for the 2015-2017 biennium calls for an equitable, sustainable revenue system in addition to state investments that: promote a world-class education system; sustain a strong middle class; produce living-wage jobs, and ensure that all Washingtonians have equal opportunity to get ahead. 

Testimonies in Olympia

We testified in support of a number of important bills during the 2016 legislative session. Take a look:

  • Our testimony (at the 23:23 minute mark) on the House Bill that would take a two-generation approach to preventing poverty 
  • Our testimony (at the 1:54:09 mark) on the House bill focused on aerospace-related tax breaks
  • Our House testimony (at the 9:25 mark) and Senate testimony (at the 1:44:54 mark) on the two-generation approach to poverty prevention bill 

10-year design element 72 dpi