Tuesday, April 3, 2012

ANOTHER special session for the Washington legislature….

Is it acceptable in your job to miss deadlines, increase costs unnecessarily, and let down the people who pay your salary?  It’s not in mine either, but our legislators seem to think that is perfectly acceptable job performance.  Though we know that there are many representatives in our state government who believe in protecting our most vulnerable citizens, there are just as many who cling to ideology that tells our most vulnerable to fend for themselves. Below is a portion of an email that my representative, (11th) Zack Hudgins, sent to his constituents on March 21st summarizing the situation in Olympia right now.

“Because the House and Senate were unable to agree on a supplemental operating budget during regular session, we are currently in a 30 day special session. (As a reminder, there was a philosophical shift in the Senate during the last week of regular session, when three conservative Senators voted with Republicans to move a Republican written budget out of the Senate. This changed the dynamic of Majority Democrats in the House negotiating with Majority Democrats in the Senate, and pushed us into a difficult to resolve situation resulting in our special session.)

 Since the end of special session, Governor Gregoire has been meeting regularly with leaders from all four caucuses to iron out the major areas of difference between the budget approved by the House and the budget approved by the Senate (some are calling it the Republican plus three budget). In the midst of the negotiating meetings, the Senate Republican leaders released another budget proposal to the media. This new plan appears to be moving in the right direction for funding our public schools and higher ed system, (no cuts to education is the same position the Democrats have taken) but the Republican +3 budget contains some pretty major differences in other important areas.

Those differences are relatively small, dollar-wise, but represent very divergent values. If the newest Republican +3 proposal is passed as written, some of the most vulnerable people in our state will be devastated:

·         14,500 disabled people will lose their medical coverage

·         10,000 disabled people will lose their homes

·         3,350 low-income families will lose their only source of income during this recession

·         12,300 low-income families will lose their food assistance

I want to get the budget written and approved as soon as possible, but we can’t sacrifice our basic values for simple expediency. A budget isn’t just about numbers, it’s about people.”

Now is the time to contact your State legislators http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx and let them know that a budget that will have a devastating effect on the MS Community is not what we sent them to Olympia for.  

Remember It’s Time for Action! Washington

Cheers! – Holly Hawker, Activism Committee Chair

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