“Our state budget is a moral document that reflects our values and priorities for state government. Faith Action Network supports investments that meet our commitments to fulfill the McCleary decision AND strengthen our safety net programs for the poor and vulnerable.” -Rev. Paul Benz
Yesterday, the Senate Republican Majority Coalition Caucus released their budget (SB 5048). The public hearing on the bill took place in the Committee on Ways & Means, and FAN was one of close to 200 who testified. Most testified in opposition, while Tim Eyman and a few others supported it. Senate leadership plans to bring this to the floor of the Senate for debate and vote on Thursday. With 25 votes, it will be approved and then it will be the House Democrat’s turn. It is expected they will release their budget on Monday or Tuesday of next week.
Some key take-aways from the Senate budget are:
- It eliminates the Housing & Essential Needs (HEN) rent support program impacting about 4,600 disabled and extremely low-income households across our state.
- A consequence of eliminating HEN is that recipients of the Medical Care Services (MCS) program will no longer be eligible for this, thus impacting another 5,000 elderly immigrants.
- Approximately $63M in TANF funds will be transferred over to the State Needs Grant program, helping lower income students but pushing more TANF households deeper into pove This kind of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ happens when budget writers refuse to consider new revenue sources.
- A new time limit is established for those receiving help from the ABD (Aged, Blind, and Disabled) program, which eliminates income supports for extremely low-income disabled households, consequently causing many in this group to being homeless.
- Eliminates funding in the Dept. of Commerce for youth homelessness and their families, which is one of FAN’s budget priorities.
Washington State currently has the most upside-down tax code in the nation, with lower income households paying a rate at up to 7 times higher than the richest households. This budget maintains that status quo, and our schools, communities, and the most vulnerable among us are paying the price.
Click here to ask your legislators to vote against the Senate Budget and for a budget that reflects our moral vision for the future of Washington: one that will meet our commitments to fund public education AND strengthen our safety net programs for those among us who are low-income and vulnerable.
You can also call your legislators using the number: 844-489-4843 between 8 AM and 8 PM, Monday through Friday. Translators are available. Leave your name and addess, and tell them you want to send a message of all 3 of your legislators. We recommend adding your concerns to this sample message:
I want to see our state lead the nation in_______ (great schools, affordable healthcare, racial equality, clean air, etc).
It’s time to clean up the tax code to make sure we build a strong foundation for Washington – and the Senate Republican budget does just the opposite. Please support closing the tax break on capital gains and other wasteful tax breaks to pay for a great future for all Washingtonians, rather than funding education at the expense of thriving communities.