An Open Letter to Senators Hill, Fain, and Litzow

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There are still too many zeros for kids in the Washington Senate budget v2.0.

Children’s Campaign Fund implores the senate to close tax exemptions that are deemed ineffective by audit analysis to provide additional funds to support children welfare services that are presently left unfunded in the proposed senate budget.

Senator Hill’s sponsored SMART act aims to sunset programs that are deemed ineffective by audit analysis. Are tax exemptions tapping the Washington budget resources that are not serving the people of our state judged and closed by the same standard?

On March 9, 2015, Senator Hill’s website promotes the SMART legislation as a balance to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee’s task of auditing tax preferences. (Senator Hill’s SMART info PDF can be found here) But thus far, although JLARC has recommended the discontinuation of more than 160 tax exemptions that decrease Washington state revenue, the senate has acted to close zero.

Our state could use the revenue generated by closing tax exemptions to fund TANF, state food assistance, early learning, sibling visits for children in foster care, implementation of the Family Assessment Response, and funding programs for students experiencing homelessness. Many of the services provided by these programs are widely-known to be effective to raise children out of poverty.

Washington state has a responsibility to the foster kids presently in the system. We must fund adequate levels of support for Children’s Protective Services (CPS) and foster care workers. We have the responsibility to keep our children safe and supported while under our care in the foster care system.

Senators, the Children’s Campaign Fund is a nonpartisan political action committee. We believe children’s safety and wellbeing should not be tethered to party lines. Our supporters depend on us to hold accountable the legislators who have received Children’s Campaign Fund endorsement to stand by their political commitments to support children and families across Washington.

The Senate’s proposal does not adequately fund the programs necessary to build more socially equitable communities and improve outcomes for our state’s most vulnerable children and families.

We must help raise our children and families out of poverty. We look to you to hold true to your commitment be to a Champion of Children.

Sincerely,

The Children’s Campaign Fund Board of Directors

 

Contact info for the senators

Sen. Andy Hill (R) Budget Chair (360) 786-7672 andy.hill@leg.wa.gov
Sen. Joe Fain (R) Joe.Fain@leg.wa.gov.
Sen. Steve Litzow (R) Steve.Litzow@leg.wa.gov