Budget impasse hurts those who depend on food bank
The deadline for avoiding a government shutdown on July 1 is fast approaching, yet the Washington state Legislature still cannot agree on a budget. Food banks received notices this week telling us that if there is no budget, we will not get the funds from the state that we rely on to keep our doors open.
At the Puyallup Food Bank, we serve residents in all of Puyallup and Edgewood — these are our neighbors who rely on the food we provide to feed their families. Without funding from the state we will be hard challenged in providing the much needed food to the nearly 1,700 families that utilize our services on a monthly basis in order to satisfy the food insecurity in their households.
It is time for the legislature to agree on a budget, one that shares our priorities for all Washingtonians. The House budget includes funding requests for food banks and other key anti-hunger programs while meeting basic education funding obligations, thanks to the inclusion of a modest capital gains tax. Not passing a budget is not an option, and neither is passing one that doesn't support our neighbors who are still struggling.
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(Peterson is the executive director of the Puyallup Food Bank.)
Children go hungry when passage of budget stalls
When our elected representatives sit down at the negotiating table to hammer out a state budget, kids aren’t there to join them. Maybe they ought to be —if only to remind legislators that the budget isn’t numbers on a page but real lives lived right here in Washington.
The Senate budget fails to fully restore food assistance for hungry kids or to hire the caseworkers needed to keep children safe. Senators aren’t providing the funds necessary to ensure that children in the state’s care are able to see their parents as often as they should.
These are not choices that honor a family’s greatest treasure, its children.
From education to food assistance to child welfare, hard times and poor choices on the part of our elected representatives have hurt kids. The result: persistently poor educational outcomes, especially for children of color and kids growing up in low-income households. Washington is one of the few states where the educational achievement gap, along lines of race, is growing.
We need to give back to our kids the hope that was lost over the years of recession and cuts. To renew hope for the lifelong success our schools promise. Let’s give back to kids the hope that our elected representatives do care. Let’s be the change we want to see. How can you take from kids and families, tax the poorest among us the most, and let the wealthiest off the hook? This is unfair — and the kids are watching.