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As the 2016 Washington state legislative session gets underway today, policymakers have an opportunity to keep the momentum going from the 2015 session by promoting policies that advance the long-term growth of our state’s economy and the well-being of all Washingtonians. At the Washington State Budget & Policy Center, we’ll be working to continue progress on several common-sense policy ideas we developed for the 2015-2017 biennium.
In the last session, legislators took steps to support workers, families, and children by closing four unproductive tax breaks, partially restoring the cash grant for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, allowing families to stay on Working Connections Child Care for a continuous 12 months, and restoring funding for the State Food Assistance Program. [See our 2016 final budget analysis for more details.] In addition, many other items from our Legislative Agenda — including implementing a tax on capital gains, raising the statewide minimum wage, and fully funding the Working Families Tax Rebate — were included in one or more budget proposals or approved by either the House or Senate. These proposals are all ready for the Legislature to take action on in 2016.
As we enter this session, new opportunities are emerging to advance more policies that create the building blocks of a strong economy. For example, the Budget & Policy Center is working on ways to bolster family security from generation to generation so Washingtonians who struggle today can build a future. This session, we will advocate for better data on intergenerational poverty and for the creation of long-term goals – that the State is held accountable for – to promote prosperity for parents and their children. In addition:
During the 2016 session, which is expected to last 60 days, the Budget & Policy Center will continue to promote our 2015-2017 priorities for shared prosperity in Washington state. We will put particular emphasis on advancing racial equity and on some other key areas where there is likely to be most potential for progress in a short session:
Find our full 2015-17 legislative agenda here.