United Way of King County

 

February 23, 2012

HEADLINES

Local
Take action against hunger

State
February 9 Lobby Day a success!
February revenue and caseload forecasts reduce budget shortfall
House releases budget
Redistricting plan getting minor tweaks

Federal
President Obama’s budget increases funding for education, homelessness
Nationally, nonprofits face similar policy challenges in 2011, 2012
Congressional briefing reveals impact of homelessness on early childhood development
President Obama signs law to extend payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits

Local
Take action against hunger
United Way of King County is shining a light on hunger and we’re asking everyone to stand with us during Hunger Action Week on March 19-24.  We are encouraging people to sign up on our website to participate in a range of activities from attending a Hunger Action Forum, with keynote speaker Ellen Gustafson, sustainable food system activist, innovator, social entrepreneur and Founder and Executive Director of the 30 Project on Thursday March 15 to posting information on Facebook to taking the “hunger challenge”.   You can be part of a movement that is helping to assure that everyone in our community is able to put nourishing food on the table.

State
February 9 Lobby Day a success!
Fourteen United Ways from around the state met with nearly one hundred legislators on February 9.  United Way of King County, with its contingency of over 20 business and community leaders and staff, was able to speak to three important bills under consideration this past week-- Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Skills (WaKIDS), the Document Recording fee which supports programs to prevent and end homelessness and the 12 month authorization of benefits under Working Connections, the state subsidized child care program for low income families.  Thanks to all who participated in “virtual” Lobby Day by calling or emailing their legislators with these messages.

February revenue and caseload forecasts reduce budget shortfall
The past few weeks, the released February caseload forecast and revenue forecast have together reduced the revenue shortfall faced by the state for the remainder of the FY2011-13 biennium by over $400 million.  While savings are good news, there is concern that people who are eligible for public benefits are not receiving them because of discouraging messages.  This seems to be true for Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) and Housing and Essential Needs (HEN), so please encourage eligible people to apply for these services!

House releases budget
Rep. Ross Hunter, the House Ways and Means Chair, presented the House budget on Tuesday morning, February 21.  The budget summary can be found here.  It is an all cuts, balanced budget that largely funds basic education and preserves safety net programs and/or priorities that United Way of King County supports.  However, the $1 billion in cuts rely heavily on fund transfers.  For more detail, go to our blog .  

Redistricting plan getting minor tweaks
State lawmakers are looking to make only minor technical adjustments to the new redistricting plan according to a recent article.

Federal
President Obama’s budget increases funding for education, homelessness
On Monday, February 13, President Obama released his $3.8 trillion budget for FY 2013. The budget includes increases for several education programs (including Head Start, Race to the Top, and infrastructure funding through the Child Care Community Development Block Grant) and homelessness programs (like McKinney-Vento and a targeted prevention program for vets through Veteran’s Services).  Stay tuned in the coming weeks as the House and Senate debate the president’s budget proposal and craft their own appropriations bills

Nationally, nonprofits face similar policy challenges in 2011, 2012
The National Council of Nonprofits released a special edition brief, Top Ten Nonprofit Policy Issues: State and Local Policy Review, detailing the policy challenges and opportunities nonprofits faced last year. Not surprisingly, the top item on the list was the challenge nonprofits face as a result of state and local governments’ shifting financial priorities and changes in regulations for charitable deductions.

Congressional briefing reveals impact of homelessness on early childhood development
Last week, several national organizations co-hosted a congressional briefing - Starting Life Without a Home: Supporting Homeless Families in Nurturing Their Infants and Toddlers to bring attention to the plight of infants and toddlers in homeless families, the impact of homelessness on early childhood development, and to highlight approaches for supporting young children and families.  Learn more about young homeless children.   

President Obama signs law to extend payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits
On Wednesday, February 22, President Obama signed a law to extend payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits  through the end of the year. This extension, which received bipartisan support, will extend benefits to tens of millions of Americans.