United Way of King County

 

September 22, 2011

HEADLINES

Local
United Way of King County supports Seattle Families & Education Levy
Seattle City Council passes paid sick day legislation
Day of Caring huge success

State
Revenue forecast presents the $2 billion challenge!
Redistricting plans
Join the petition to support early learning
School districts help identify and support homeless students

Federal
Millions of Americans struggling to meet their most basic needs
President’s job plan strategy
Future of charitable deductions at risk
Senate recommends flat funding for homeless programs


Local

United Way of King County supports Seattle Families and Education Levy
The City of Seattle Families & Education Levy, first passed by Seattle residents in 1990, is set to expire this year.  Voters will be asked to renew the levy on the November ballot and direct $232 million to Seattle’s most vulnerable kids over the next seven years. The levy funds programs that support early learning, school-based health centers, family support and out-of-school programs.  To learn more about the levy, go here.

Seattle City Council passes paid sick day legislation
On Monday, September 12th, the Seattle City Council passed legislation requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees.  The legislation establishes minimum standards for paid sick time based on company size with businesses employing fewer than 5 people exempt.  Support and opposition opinions are presented in this Forbes article.

Day of Caring huge success
United Way of King County’s annual Day of Caring took place on September 16. 11,000 volunteers from 122 different organizations donated their time to 416 community service projects, an estimated $1.1 million worth of labor in one day!  Thank you for making our community a better place to live!

State

Revenue forecast presents the $2 billion challenge!
The state revenue forecast, released on September 15, showed that revenue collection may be $1.4 billion lower than anticipated over the biennium as a result of a much deeper recession than previously estimated. Adding a reasonable fund balance (cushion) to that forecast would bring the shortfall closer to $2 billion. With the Governor unwilling to do across-the-board cuts that could undermine critical services, state leaders will need to agree upon a plan that prioritizes spending and then approve reductions to the biennial budget in a special 30-day legislative session the Governor called for on Thursday. 

Redistricting plans
Plans released by the state commission last week revealed four different approaches to redrawing legislative districts.  For the first time, the approaches proposed having a district where the minority state population would be in the majority.  Read more here.

Join the petition to support early learning
Washington state, along with all other states, is applying for a federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant that will support critical early child care and education programs. Successful application would result in $60 million for Washington state. A coalition of organizations developed a petition in support of the application with the goal of collecting 10,000 signatures by this Friday.  Go to WAChallenge to sign the petition and support early learning!

School districts help identify and support homeless students
The number of homeless students in Washington State grew to 21,826 in 2009-2010, an increase of 29.5 percent. Last week, Columbia Legal Services released a new report that analyzes school district data across county lines.  The data shows both the percentage and number of students identified as homeless in each Washington state county. Read more about how homelessness impacts a student’s education and the role that the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction plays in identifying and providing support for homeless students.

Federal

Millions of Americans struggling to meet their most basic needs
Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released 2010 data showing that 46.2 million people live in poverty and an even greater number have no health insurance.  The number of people living in poverty rose to 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009, underscoring the importance of national discussions around job creation, health care reform, safety net programs and charitable giving.  Go here for a list of in-depth poverty resources and here to query U.S. Census Bureau data by state and congressional district.

President’s job plan strategy
On Monday, September 19, President Obama released his plan, Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future.  The plan outlines the investments necessary to support the American Jobs Act and proposes budget reductions of $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years (more than the “Super Committee” is charged with identifying). The plan includes a $447 billion investment in job creation and makes cuts and reforms to a wide range of mandatory programs.  The plan does not include cuts to SNAP (food stamps), child nutrition programs, SSI or TANF.  A distillation of the President’s proposal can be found in a White House Fact Sheet.

Continuing Resolution expected
The end of the federal fiscal year is approaching without agreement on a FY 2011-12 budget.  A funding measure defeated in the House raised the spector once again of a government shutdown although it is expected that a compromise will be reached on a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will carry the government through November.

Future of charitable deductions at risk
As Congress and the President consider ways to reduce the federal deficit, an option under consideration is limiting the charitable deduction tax rate.  Non-profits and philanthropy believe, and research tends to substantiate, that doing so would dampen charitable giving at a time when public funding for human services is experiencing severe cutbacks. Join United Way of King County and United Way Worldwide in urging Congress to maintain the charitable deduction.

Senate recommends flat funding for homeless programs
On Tuesday, the Senate Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee recommended flat funding for the McKinney-Vento programs in FY 2012 (the same amount as in FY 2011).  The programs help people experiencing homelessness achieve stability in their lives and set them on a path to self-sufficiency (see the article on homeless students below). A summary of the Senate’s proposal is available here.