Schmudget Blog

The Fight For Economic Justice Persists

Posted by taral at Jan 20, 2014 06:15 AM |

From B & PC  staff -- As we reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, it’s impossible to ignore one of the defining issues of his day, and of our day – growing economic inequality and its pervasive impact on our country and our state.

"Do you know that most of the poor people in our country are working everyday? They are making wages so low that they cannot begin to function in the mainstream of the economic life of our nation. These are facts which must be seen. And it is criminal to have people working on a full-time basis and a full-time job getting part-time income."

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
March 18, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee

 

"There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will."

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
March 31, 1968, Washington, D.C.

Since the 1980’s, despite consistent overall economic growth and ever increasing worker productivity, gains in income and wealth have skewed heavily to the richest one percent of Washingtonians, while wages for the working and middle class have stalled. The Great Recession only accelerated these trends –in Washington state we lost thousands of good paying jobs only to replace them with lower wage service jobs in the anemic recovery.

 

Min wage

 

Today a large number of people work full time, but still live without enough income to meet their basic needs. At the same time, we have drastically cut back on our investments in education, health, and social programs – the very opportunities workers and their families need to get ahead.

This is not a sustainable model for a strong middle class.  Only when more workers and their families have a shot at prosperity will our economy fully thrive, and everyone in our state will benefit.

As Dr. King said almost 50 years ago, we know how to improve opportunity and economic security for all, the question is will we?  The answer is, we must.

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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 

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