House and Senate budget leaders have each released their guiding documents for state spending over the next two years. Here’s a summary of how they address priorities for Washington’s kids:
Resolving that no child’s future should be hindered by inadequate nutrition, the House would restore full funding to food assistance for qualified immigrant families. The Senate maintains funding at current levels, 25 percent less than federal food stamps.
The Senate has collaborated with House early-learning leaders and child advocates to shape the bipartisan Early Start Act. High quality early learning is a proven means of closing the opportunity gap faced by too many children of color and children in low-income families. But the Senate budget includes less than half the funding needed to reach the bill’s intended outcomes.
And with a new capital gains tax and a restructured B&O tax, the House makes significant changes to our state’s outdated, upside-down revenue system—changes needed to grow our economy and invest in our future.
Six years of recession-driven cutbacks have hobbled our ability to build strong families and healthy communities—with disproportionate harm to families of color. With child poverty rising in Washington, we need to invest in programs that serve kids’ most basic needs—programs like State Food Assistance and Breakfast after the Bell—while giving all children the great start they need in life.
In the weeks ahead, Children’s Alliance is looking forward to working with legislators and coalition partners to ensure that kids have equal access to the building blocks of the American dream. Together, we can win a final budget that builds strong kids and strong families.