Schmudget Blog

Strong Public Policies are Essential in a Weak Economy

Posted by Lori Pfingst at Jan 22, 2013 11:05 PM |

In an economy that is not working, children and families in Washington state need strong social and economic policies more than ever. 

Strong public programs are a cornerstone of a strong economy, and are a major reason why the recent downturn did not become another Great Depression. In 2011 alone, policies like the State Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and Unemployment Insurance (UI) kept 40 million people in the U.S. out of poverty.

Washington state’s most recent employment report shows that there still aren’t enough jobs being created, and that the slight drop in the most recent unemployment rate is largely due to people who have given up looking for work.  The jobs data look grim – 18 of the top 20 occupations with the most vacancies in Washington state do not pay enough for a family of three to even meet basic needs (see figure).

prosperity_fig2_basicneeds_no#

The lack of jobs – especially those that pay enough to get by – is one of the main reasons for Washington state’s declining middle class and increase in poverty.  One in three kids in our state lives in a low income family, which does not bode well for their future or our collective well-being as a state (see figure). 

low income kids

As the Legislature debates a new budget this session, policymakers should keep in mind that investments in programs that help families find or keep a job and keep children out of poverty are essential to improving the overall economy. 

Stay tuned to schmudget this week for a series on investments that will rebuild the middle class and put Washington state on a stronger path to prosperity. 

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HIGHLIGHTS

Save the Date

Our Budget Matters 2016 Policy Conference will take place on Wednesday, November 16. More details coming soon. 

Watch the Poverty Forum Video

If you missed the half-day Poverty Forum that we co-hosted with Partners for Our Children in May 2016, you can watch it on YouTube now. It features a range of speakers and panelists talking about policy solutions for addressing income inequality and poverty in our state.

We're Hiring!

Come join our fun, hard-wording team of people who are passionate about social and economic justice! We are looking for a Deputy Director to manage the internal operations of our team of policy analysts and communications and outreach experts. And we're seeking a Development Manager to help us grow our organization. 

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 

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