Senate Budget is a Step Back for Washington

The Senate released their state budget. This budget wages a war of attrition on our communities, which is unacceptable. Take action to tell your lawmakers we need a better budget!

Instead of forwarding a vision that would make Washington stronger, this nonsensical budget doubles down on the harm in Trump’s proposed federal budget. It attempts to fund education (although it is not clear whether it succeeds) on the backs of the very children we hope to teach. Through this budget, the Senate proposes a Washington state that harms its most vulnerable populations – children, people of color, people with disabilities, people living low incomes, people experiencing homelessness, immigrants, and more.

Here are some — but not all – of the reasons this budget is bad for our state:

1) It strips $63 million in federal funds allocated for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to pay for other state obligations. Rather than getting serious about raising fair revenue (like closing corporate task loopholes) the proposed budget strips our poorest families of the meager supports they have and would send thousands more spiraling into deeper poverty.

2) It places even more restrictions on TANF work participation requirements, which will make it harder still for parents facing additional barriers like mental illness, domestic violence, or homelessness to receive TANF.

3) After a lot of hard work and your advocacy, last year the legislature extended the eligibility authorization for Working Connections Childcare to 12 months. This made it so that parents who had slight changes in their financial situation no longer faced the threat of losing their childcare each month. This budget reverses this much-needed and highly practical 12-month authorization.

4) The budget also slashes the State Food Assistance (SFA) program by $8.5 million over the next four years. SFA provides food assistance to documented immigrants who are not eligible for federal food stamps, cutting off a primary source of hunger relief for our immigrant communities.

5) In a move that really makes no sense, this budget places a time-limit on the number of months a person can receive support through the Aged, Blind & Disabled program (ABD), despite the fact that these costs can be fully reimbursed by the federal government. This means someone with a permanent disability, who has not successfully transitioned to the federal SSI, will be cut off from the slim, but vital, support they get each month.

6) In one of the cruelest moves, the Senate budget eliminates Housing & Essential Needs (HEN), which provides a modest housing voucher to people with short-term disabilities to prevent homelessness when people can’t work due to a temporary disability.

This budget is irresponsible, harmful, and does not represent who we are or what we can be as Washingtonians. While this is far from the final state budget, as the House will release its proposal next week, we need to flood Olympia with your resounding and immediate “No” to this proposal. We cannot fund education at the expense of vital services to our most vulnerable families, and expect anything to change for the better.

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