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Legislators are done…for now

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under Policy & Legislation

by Danielle Back-From-Maternity-Leave Baer, Communications and Grants Manager

Early Wednesday morning, after what ended up being four legislative sessions counting the regular session and three special sessions, the Washington State Legislature finally came to an agreement on the 2012 supplemental budget.  Thanks to children’s advocates across the state, despite spending cuts, the final budget included some important savings to critical programs.  Read more about what’s in and out of the 2012 supplemental budget in The Seattle Times.

The issue on our radar at School’s Out Washington was the Working Connections Child Care program that in this final budget includes restoring eligibility to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. This is a huge victory for families in our state.  Eligibility had previously been cut to 175% so to see this increase in a tough budget year shows that all the hard work and dedication of advocates committed to this issue was worth the effort!

In the K-12 education arena, advocates are celebrating no further budget cuts. Over the past several years, we have experienced deep cuts to our education funding and we know that schools across the state are suffering.  While funds were not restored, we’re happy to see that no further cuts were made.  The League of Education Voters has more information on education related legislative issues and a fun video to summarize their highs and lows during the 2012 legislative session.

There were also some efforts made to bring in revenue including closing a tax break for out-of-state banks and sellers of roll your own cigarettes. The Washington State Budget and Policy Center has more analyses of the final budget.

Now we wait for the Governor’s final approval and take a short break before rolling up our sleeves and getting ready for 2013!

Read the Children’s Alliance blog entry on the Legislative Session wrap-up.

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