In this edition, you'll find letters to the editor by Linda Stone, senior food policy coordinator at Children's Alliance, and Josh Fogt, public policy manager at Northwest Harvest, supporting the Obama administration’s proposal to spend an extra $1 billion each year on child-nutrition programs. You’ll also find articles explaining the newly launched Washington state income-tax initiative, which would roll back taxes on property and small businesses and raise revenue dedicated to education and health care.
The Seattle Times rightly endorsed investing more to improve
the nutritional quality of school meals. We, the Children’s Alliance,
agree that Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s bill to reauthorize
child-nutrition programs calls for too small of an investment. We do not
agree that the Obama administration has asked for too much by
requesting $1 billion a year in new funding.
Proponents of a state income tax set the stage for a knock-down
political fight Wednesday, kicking off a campaign for an initiative
that would target earnings of the state's wealthiest citizens and roll
back taxes on property and small-business revenues.
Our ability to continue making progress as a state on
education, community, health, and economic security depends on both the
short-term solution provided by the revenue package just passed by the
legislature and a long-term roadmap like that provided by the tax reform
initiative unveiled Wednesday.
Initiative 1077 has been filed to appear on the November 2010
ballot in Washington. If passed by voters, the measure will lower taxes
for most Washington residents by lowering property taxes and exempting
small businesses from the business and occupation tax. I-1077 would
raise new revenue dedicated to education and health services by adding
an income tax on the wealthiest 3% of households.
Bitttersweet may be the best description of the legislative
session, say advocates who spent the winter’s session at the state
capitol defending health and human services programs from a $2.8 billion
budget deficit. A host of programs emerged intact or were only trimmed,
including Working Connections child care assistance. But incidental
medical programs for the poor felt the ax’s edge. Throughout the session,
says Lan Nguyen, health policy coordinator for the Children's Alliance,
legislators were asked who needed scarce services the most: adults or
children? It’s always a hard call, she says: “There’s a face behind each
of these cuts.”
Runner up: Laurie Lippold of the Children’s Home Society. All
the social service advocates were fighting for funds in this year’s
tight budget, and got some of what they were asking for, like restoring
partial funding for senior home care or General Assistance for the
Unemployable. Lippold’s heavy lift—securing all $30 million in childcare
dollars for the working poor.
Congress is getting to work and this legislative session could
see another round of debate, and maybe progress, on early learning
ideas, with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act at the top of the agenda.
The debate over quality early learning sometimes overlooks
students who fall outside the traditional lines of typical – children
with Down syndrome, autism and other diagnosed and undiagnosed disorders
– yet these kids and their parents may deserve a far bigger role.