In this edition, you'll read the Children's Alliance’s commentary on First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign to combat childhood obesity. Also, you’ll find the latest news stories about the campaign to raise substantial new revenues to sustain vital state services for children and families across Washington state.
First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled a plan to combat the
growing problem of childhood obesity today, calling on communities
across the country to renew their commitments to helping kids develop
healthy eating and exercise habits.
A state Senate committee on Monday passed a measure that would
suspend a citizen-approved initiative that requires a super majority
vote in the Legislature to raise taxes. Senate Bill 6843 was OK'd by
the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It must still be considered by the
full chamber. If it passes there it would move to the House.
A proposal to raise about $30 million a year by applying the
sales tax to candy has been an often-written story this session. But
when Gov. Chris Gregoire was asked about the idea last week, she looked
exasperated. She needs hundreds of millions of dollars to fix the
budget to her liking. She looked down at reporters and let them know
taxing candy was kids' stuff.
House Bill 3176 would generate about $210 million in new tax
revenues this year, mostly by closing loopholes and repealing costly
exemptions. This is good start. But much more revenue is needed if we
are to preserve essential public services like education, the basic
health plan, and child care assistance for working families – all of
which face severe cuts or outright elimination due to the national
Environmental groups and Democratic lawmakers are teaming up
behind a bill that would triple the tax on petroleum and other toxic
substances, raising $225 million a year to help close a state budget
gap and pay for stormwater projects. The proposal, which could raise
gas prices by a few cents per gallon, builds on a toxics tax enacted by
voters in 1988.
We can’t focus tax hikes on the wealthy as easily as Oregon
with its progressive income tax. But here’s what we can do instead.
Washington’s $2.6 billion budget gap presents state lawmakers with a
two for one opportunity to lay the groundwork for a more prosperous
future. By raising revenue to protect important public structures like
K-12 education, health care for seniors, and affordable colleges and
universities, policymakers can simultaneously correct some of our tax
system’s fundamental shortcomings.
At her press conference this morning, Gov. Chris Gregoire gave
a little preview of this Friday's revenue forecast: Not bad, not bad at
all. That's based on December tax collections which are up more than
The state and federal constitutions both require majority
votes to pass legislation, and super-majorities to accomplish some
specific things: Congress needs two-thirds to remove a judge or a
president, for example, and the state legislature needs two-thirds to
alter or suspend an initiative within the first two years after it
passes. Neither document says anything about a super-majority to raise
taxes, or a filibuster that can only be averted by a cloture vote of 60
Researchers found a few basic steps were associated with
battling one of the nation’s health concerns, childhood obesity.
Preschoolers who got enough sleep, watched limited amounts of
television and regularly ate dinner with their families had a lower
prevalence of obesity.
A “public option” allowing people to buy health insurance from
the government has stalled in Congress, but something like it is
starting up in Washington. The state Health Care Authority said it
plans to ask private insurers to help it create a coverage option that
anyone in the state could buy for about $100 a month.