OLYMPIA -- Reaction to Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposed 2011-13 budget continues to come in from groups who don't like parts of it.
It balances the budget on the backs of toddlers. -- Washington State Association of Head Start and ECAP.
Endangers families across the state. -- Poverty Action Network.
Complete statements can be found inside the blog.
Statement from WSA Executive Director, Joel Ryan, On Governor’s Proposed 2 Year Budget
“Today, the Governor proposed a budget that cuts 460 at-risk three-year-olds per year from our state’s prekindergarten program known as ECEAP. This is truly penny-wise and pound foolish. There is no better investment than high quality early education. The program saves taxpayers money right away by reducing the need for costly remedial education as they enter the K-12 system, and saves money in the longer term by reducing dependence on welfare and reducing involvement in the criminal justice system.
Tough choices are clearly needed to balance the budget. However, I question whether it makes sense to ask the most at-risk toddlers in the state to be the ones to bear the brunt of the cuts. These children did not create the budget crisis. Adults did that all by themselves. But the children appear to be the ones that are being asked to pay for it. My hope is that when the lawmakers in Olympia return in January they will reject this proposed cut to ECEAP and ensure that are most at-risk toddlers have a chance to succeed in school and life. The short and long terms costs of this proposed cut are too much to take.”
GOVERNOR’S BUDGET CUTS ESSENTIAL SERVICES, ENDANGERING
FAMILIES ACROSS THE STATE
Anti-poverty advocates disappointed by drastic and devastating cuts to
children, families and people with disabilities.
OLYMPIA—Gov. Chris Gregoire’s recently released biennial budget cuts essential services to children, families, and people with low incomes, which will create devastating consequences to communities throughout the state.
The Governor’s budget proposes cuts to healthcare, education, affordable housing, and assistance to low-income families and people who are unable to work due to a disability.
Anti-poverty advocates are deeply concerned about the impact of yet another year of deep budget cuts, saying that more needs to be done to ensure all the people of our state have the opportunity to prosper and have access to basic supports, according to Bev Spears, director of the Statewide Poverty Action Network.
“We have a moral duty to ensure that all Washingtonians have the resources they need to survive this recession, especially our most vulnerable children, families, and disabled individuals,” said Spears. “At a time when each of us is feeling the pain of this difficult economy, we need creative solutions that protect essential public services, invest in education and employment opportunities, and create hope for recovery and the future.”
Over the past two years, the state has already been forced to make over $4 billion in cuts to state services that protect the health and safety of our communities. Now, the Governor’s budget proposes to eliminate the Disability Lifeline, which provides a small monthly cash grant, as well as medical assistance to 21,000 individuals whose mental or physical illness or disability prevents them from working.
“The Disability Lifeline, is more than just a social service program. It is the assurance that, if something terrible happens that inhibits your ability to meet your basic needs, you will have some support. Without this service, people will lose their ability to pay for housing and food,” Spears said. Advocates also argue that eliminating this cash program takes money out of the economy - money that would be spent on goods and services in a direct contribution to much needed economic growth.
In addition, the Governor’s budget proposes to eliminate the Basic Health Plan, forcing 66,000 people to lose access to health care coverage and cuts our state’s Community Health Clinics by 50%. “These two cuts combined will force our state’s low-income families
into expensive emergency room visits when they find they can’t afford to go to the doctor, but there is no longer a clinic in their neighborhood to assist them,” Spears said.
In order to ensure that we are a competitive state emerging from this recession, anti-poverty advocates are calling on the legislature to now examine all options for improving the state's revenue picture and preventing the consequences of such drastic cuts.
“We urge the legislature to take a more balanced approach to the budget situation,” Spears said. “We hope that they will take a hard look at closing expensive tax loopholes for out-of-state banks and corporations before they decide to eliminate crucial public services that prevent people from dying without the care they need.”