Have a Heart for Kids Day 2020

Kids in the News, May 3, 2011

Christina 05/03/11

In this week’s edition, state lawmakers tackle tax loopholes in the last weeks of the legislative session, Gov. Gregoire and the legislature near agreement about who will control the state’s public assistance budget, and in national news, a proposal to change the Medicaid program would hurt state governments and worsen health care for millions.

Close tax loopholes? | The Olympian | 05-01-2011
The (I-1053) measure passed with a nearly 64 percent of the vote in November and requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate to raise taxes or cut tax “loopholes.” The latter has been a rallying cry for activists trying to avoid spending cuts to schools and health programs. “November wasn’t the last word,’’ Senate Ways and Means Committee chairman Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said Friday, explaining that he wants voters to have a chance to reconsider the vote requirement for closing corporate tax breaks. “I think voters change their minds.”
Guest Column: Tax breaks burden the poor | The Spokesman-Review | 05-02-2011
Our kids are struggling, tuition is skyrocketing, harmful chemicals are seeping into our water and seniors are being kicked out of their homes. Simultaneously, corporations are banking record profits and Olympia continues to hand out billions in tax breaks for corporate special interests with no review of whether those breaks serve any purpose whatsoever. There are real choices to be made here, and it’s high time to hold our state lawmakers accountable for the glaring inequalities of giving tax breaks to the wealthiest while eliminating vital public services to the neediest.
Chicken-bedding tax debate joins legislative debate | The Seattle Times | 04-30-2011
"This is black and white: Do you want to fund your chickens or do you want to fund your children?" said Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, who has sponsored a bill to eliminate the tax exemption on chicken bedding along with a handful of other agricultural tax preferences.
Rep. Dickerson: Rescue mental-health services with fair sales taxes | Ballard News-Tribune | 04-22-2011
Forty-four Democrats in our House of Representatives are calling for a statewide referendum that asks voters to end sales-tax preferences for out-of-state shoppers and dedicate the revenues to save mental-health services for Washingtonians. The referendum would raise an estimated $83.7 million from nonresidents—enough to restore nearly all of the state mental-health funding lost since 2009.
Gregoire, lawmakers headed toward balancing welfare budget | Political Buzz (Tacoma News Tribune blog) | 04-29-2011
Not all details are worked out, but lawmakers said they and Gregoire agreed in principle on how to bridge the remaining shortfall of $50 million or so. It involves scaling back requirements for job searches and training for some families on welfare with very young children. That way, the state wouldn't have to pay for their day care while they're away from home fulfilling those requirements.
Guest Opinion: Oral Health Critical for Children | The Spokesman-Review | 04-23-2011
Dental disease can be a serious problem for our children. A child whose mouth is hurting can’t eat or sleep properly, has difficulty paying attention in school and may experience future health problems. In some cases, dental problems such as abscesses have led to death… . Despite making significant progress in the last five years, too many children in our community and throughout the state still suffer from preventable dental disease. According to the Smile Survey, almost 40 percent of kindergarten children have tooth decay, and almost 15 percent of these children have rampant decay. In addition, the rates of decay among minority and low-income children are significantly higher than the state average, so we still have much to do and many children who still need our help.
Remy Trupin: How we can rebuild | The Herald (Everett) | 05-01-2011
Unfortunately, the 2011 Legislature will likely be remembered for dramatic cuts to many of the public services that are essential to our families and communities. The reductions in funding to education and health care will have long-lasting effects. The foundations of the public structures that underpin our state's economy and quality of life have been weakened with each cut, resulting in fractures that will take decades to repair.
Awaiting Answers on Race to the Top & Early Learning | Early Ed Watch (blog of Foundation for Early Learning) | 04-27-2011
Here at the Early Education Initiative, we wonder if this new Race to the Top (RTTT) may be a real opportunity for states to think about how early education should, in fact, be part of their education reform strategies. A cohesive RTTT could help states to better align early learning programs – serving infants, toddlers and pre-kindergarteners – with the early grades of elementary school.
Jocelyn Guyer: The Big Grab: Federal Policymakers Tap $3.5 Billion Set Aside for Kids' Health | The Huffington Post | 04-27-2011
The decision to tap $3.5 billion of the performance bonus fund was not a disaster in this instance… By our calculations at Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, all states could earn bonus payments in the years ahead and there would still be enough money in the fund to reward them.... Still, this does not make it a good idea to treat money that has been set aside for children's coverage as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations.
Editorial: The Ryan plan for Medicaid | New York Times | 04-30-2011
The real problem is not Medicaid. Contrary to most perceptions, it is a relatively efficient program — with low administrative costs, a high reliance on managed care and much lower payments to providers than other public and private insurance. The real problem is soaring medical costs.