August, 2010

Media Digest 8-31-2010

In this edition, you’ll find articles on how ballot measures on the November ballot could significantly impact the state budget for years to come. You can read Children’s Alliance positions on ballot measures here. You’ll also read about two key shortfalls in the Senate’s child nutrition bill that the House can help fix when Congress reconvenes in September.
Ballot will shape state budget | The News Tribune I 08-30-2010
Washington voters could reshape the state’s budget outlook for the next couple of years, depending how they weigh in Nov. 2 on six citizen initiatives and a referendum from the Legislature. Most of the proposals would cut the flow of money into the state treasury, including two liquor-privatization efforts and a tax-rollback measure that is backed by $10 million from the national soft drink industry. But an income tax on high-earning residents, if enacted and not struck down by courts, would give the state $2.2 billion a year in future budget cycles.
Read more: A 50-state comparison of state income taxes shows WA would rank way, way low under I-1098 I Seattle PostGlobe I 08-27-2010
Foes of liquor sales initiatives get help from beer, wine distributors I The Herald I 08-27-2010
Why The House Child Nutrition Bill Is Better For Children I The Huffington Post I 08-24-2010
The Senate's passage of its child nutrition bill, Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 (S. 3307), would improve upon existing child anti-hunger programs, such as school breakfast and lunch, after school food programs, and the WIC program. While the improvements to the nutritional quality of foods provided by our child nutrition programs is a strong step forward, there are two key shortfalls to the legislation that the House should consider before taking up the Senate bill when Congress reconvenes in September.

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Media Digest 8-24-2010

In this edition, you’ll find articles on a new pediatric dental center opening in Seattle that aims to give more children access to dental care – a big step forward for the Seattle area, but around the state we face serious challenges to kids’ oral health. The Children’s Alliance is working on policy solutions to increase kids’ access to dental care. You’ll also read about the soda industry’s campaign to pass I-1107, which would repeal a tax on soda, and how passing the liquor initiatives would affect Washington cities. 
New pediatric dental center to open at Magnuson Park | Seattle Times I 08-18-2010
Joel Berg, director of the new Center for Pediatric Dentistry in Magnuson Park, concedes that $21 million could buy a lot of drilling and filling — particularly for kids whose parents can't afford dental care. But Berg's after something bigger and more permanent with the new 28,000-square-foot Center for Pediatric Dentistry opening Sept. 1 at Magnuson Park. He wants to keep kids out of the dental chair — forever. And he's got a plan. Inside the facility, Berg intends to create a whole new model for the way dental care is now delivered to kids.
Listen to a story on the new pediatric dental center in Seattle I KUOW I 08-18-2010
Anti-soda tax campaign tops $10 mil I Seattle PI I 08-18-2010
With its second $3.5 million check in two weeks, the American Beverage Association has topped the $10 million mark in its checkbook campaign to pass Initiative 1107 in this November's election. The initiative would repeal temporary tax increases on candy, soda pop and bottled water, enacted by the Legislature last winter as it sought to close a $2.8 billion budget deficit and not axe social services. The beverage tax is quite modest, adding two cents to every 12-ounce container. It exempts bottlers whose volume is under $10 million.
In other election news, read more on how the passage of liquor initiatives would affect Washington cities I Covington Reporter I 08-20-2010

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Legislators Recognized for Drawing the Future for Kids

 

A crowd of children and parents gathered to
honor state leaders from western Washington on Saturday, August 14th at
the first of three Early Learning Action Alliance (ELAA) Crayon Award events organized by the Children’s Alliance.

Rep. Eric Pettigrew talks to kids during the Crayon Awards.

State legislators were honored for their outstanding work in early
learning during the 2010 legislative session during a stage event emceed
by Representative Eric Pettigrew (37th District) at the Early Learning
Community Fair in Seattle. At the event, six state legislators joined
community members and early learning stakeholders from across the Puget
Sound region to celebrate the importance of early learning in the lives
of Washington’s children and families and to pledge further support of
early learning in the year ahead.

Legislators Recognized for Drawing the Future for Kids

 

A crowd of children and parents gathered to
honor state leaders from western Washington on Saturday, August 14th at
the first of three Early Learning Action Alliance (ELAA) Crayon Award events organized by the Children’s Alliance.

State legislators were honored for their outstanding work in early
learning during the 2010 legislative session during a stage event emceed
by Representative Eric Pettigrew (37th District) at the Early Learning
Community Fair in Seattle. At the event, six state legislators joined
community members and early learning stakeholders from across the Puget
Sound region to celebrate the importance of early learning in the lives
of Washington’s children and families and to pledge further support of
early learning in the year ahead.

August budget cut could mean rough winter for families

While there was a fair amount of media coverage about the reduction in state child care assistance announced last week, there was less attention to the single largest category of that $51 million budget cut: the loss of financial assistance for low-income parents.

Media Digest 8-17-2010

In this edition, you’ll find articles on state budget cuts to child care subsidies that provide Washington’s children with quality early learning programs while allowing their parents to go to work. You’ll also find articles and opinions on I-1098, an initiative on November’s ballot that would help fund education with a high-earners income tax. 
State budget woes strike welfare program I Associated Press I 08-13-2010
Fewer people will qualify for a state welfare program that provides child care subsidies and help finding a job under cuts announced by Gov. Chris Gregoire last Thursday. She said that at least $51 million is being cut from WorkFirst, the state’s welfare-to-work program, because while enrollment continues to rise, matching funds from the federal government have remained flat since the 1990s.
Read more: Child Care Subsidies Among Gregoire Cuts I KPLU I 08-13-2010

Federal aid not stopping state budget cuts I The Herald I 08-12-2010
 
I-1098 would generate $11B over five years I Puget Sound Business Journal I 08-13-2010
If Washington residents approve Initiative 1098 in November, the income tax on the state’s wealthiest residents would raise $11 billion in revenue over the next five years. The state released its fiscal impacts statement for initiatives this week. For I-1098, which is supported by Bill Gates Sr., the state assumes the income tax on couples making $400,000 or more (or single residents making $200,000 or more) would generate $2.2 billion in 2012.
Read more: Q&A: Tax advice for the wealthy if voters pass I-1098 I Puget Sound Business Journal I 08-16-2010

The Wall Street Journal Is the Latest Paper to Get It Wrong On I-1098 I Seattle Weekly I 08-16-2010

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A Summer Lunch with Congressman Jim McDermott

Representative McDermott Visits Summer Lunch Program

It was a beautiful day to eat lunch in Seattle’s Pratt Park last Wednesday where children from the community gather for free lunch during the summer. The day was made even more special because we planned a visit by Congressman Jim McDermott (WA-7) to hand out lunches and talk with the folks who use this incredible program.

“Do you want some milk?” The Congressman asked one of the almost 25 kids who picked up their lunch. Many families use this program to supplement the food they provide at home. That’s why summer meal programs are so important – they reach children whose families are struggling to find room in tight budgets to replace meals kids receive at school during the school year.

“Eating healthy meals is absolutely an essential part of child development. This program fills a huge gap,” said Congressman McDermott.

Media Digest 8-10-2010

In this edition, you’ll find an opinion by J.B. Pritzker, an entrepreneur who sees early learning as a lifeline for children struggling through the economic downturn. You’ll also find an article on new initiatives launched in Whatcom County to prevent dental disease – the most common childhood chronic disease.
Opinion: The Children of the Great Recession I The Huffington Post I 08-06-2010
Is The Great Recession over? Is it entering a double dip? Will the economy ever fully recover? Almost every day several economists can be heard on the business cable channels discussing these questions. Agreement is scarce. Conclusions more so. And when the TV programs end I think about one fact that we do know with certainty: Not since the Great Depression has the economic plight of the nation endangered children more. It's up to all of us to prevent this debacle.
New efforts try to prevent cavities in Whatcom County kids | The Bellingham Herald I 08-05-2010
New initiatives have been launched to curb cavities in young children in Whatcom County, including teaching pregnant women about the importance of their own oral health in protecting their babies. The efforts focus on prevention by increasing education and access to health care early in the life of a child. "It's getting them even earlier down the pipeline," said Maggi Kriger, coordinator of the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry Program as well as the Oral Health Coalition in Whatcom County. Dental disease is the No. 1 chronic disease of childhood. It's five times more common than asthma, Kriger said.

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Procedural Vote to the Rescue!

 

Does a procedural vote gaining super hero status sound strange? It probably does, but an important amendment proposed by our very own Senator Patty Murray, with support from Senator Maria Cantwell, has saved the day. The amendment passed the Senate in a procedural vote on Wednesday morning. It passed out of the Senate this morning and now goes to the House. If passed in the House, it will prevent Governor Christine Gregoire from making across the board cuts to critical services.

The federal funding in the amendment (also called FMAP) gives states money to help pay for their Medicaid programs, which funds, in part, Apple Health for Kids. It also provides money for public schools. For Washington state, the measure is expected to bring in $543 million.