As we are recovering from our holiday season and getting ready to ring in the New Year, the Washington State legislature is gearing up for the session starting in January. We know, based on the last few years and the special session, that the legislature must close a huge budget gap. But how? We, in the MS community, know how important all of the programs that end up on the chopping block are to people with MS and other illnesses and disabilities.
We all know that the Governor has proposed a sales tax increase. But is that the best solution to the budget crisis? Sales tax is a regressive tax that adversely affects lower income Washingtonians, and in turn, many in our community who are unable to work and are considered low income. Are there other options? A group called Economic Opportunity Institute has prepared an analysis of several options that the state has in order to help close the budget gap http://www.eoionline.org/tax_reform/reports/2BillioninProgressiveRevenues-Dec2011.pdf . Some suggestions are easier to swallow than others; however, this demonstrates that there are other options besides cut, cut, cut.
In order to support the necessary and successful social safety net that Washington has established, we must find a way to pay for it. Without programs like Basic Health, Disability Lifeline, Medicaid, and so many other vital programs that give a hand up to Washingtonians in need, the social and economic costs to our state will escalate!
What do you think of these ideas? Do you have additional suggestions for the legislature? Maybe you think that the cuts are ok – please let our community know why.
Remember to register for the 2012 Day of Activism on January 30th. http://wasmain.nationalmssociety.org/site/Calendar?id=270894&view=Detail
This is our opportunity to have our voices heard!
It’s Time for Action! Washington
Happy New Year! - Holly