I am writing today as the executive director of Tacoma Community House and a member of the Pierce County Human Services Coalition regarding the current budget negotiations taking place in Olympia.
We hear a lot about responsible budgeting and sustainability and want to talk about how irresponsible and unsustainable it would be to adopt the budget proposed by the Senate Republicans. As you noted in your editorial (TNT, 3-18), this budget would rip even larger holes in our already fragile safety net by eliminating the Disability Lifeline (health benefits for those unable to work), the New Americans Program and food assistance for legal immigrants, and by slashing welfare grants to below $500 a month (grants that were already cut a year ago).
Pierce County will feel the impacts of these proposed cuts in increased homelessness, unreimbursed care in our hospital emergency rooms, longer lines at food banks and continued unemployment.
Our community deserves better from Olympia, and we have seen alternative budgets that balance the budget without harming those most in need. That is what we should all demand from our leaders in Olympia: a budget that is not balanced on the backs of vulnerable people and does not do more harm.
We know it can be done. As a coalition, we support additional revenue to provide a responsible and humane budget.