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BUDGET: Most vulnerable would feel the pain

Letter by Liz B. Dunbar, Tacoma on March 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm with 17 Comments »
March 19, 2012 4:52 pm

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.

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. concernedtacoma7 says:

    The taxpayer, the producer, the employer is the one ‘most vulnerable’.

    These safety nets have become a way of life. They trap people in the bottom, and good intentions have long term negative impacts on society.

    There are state, fed, and local means of assistance, on top of charities. Cutting one program in the name of balancing a budget will not lead to the nightmare scenerio outined in this LTE.

    This is emotion over reason.

  2. aislander says:

    I fear, concernedtacoma7, that people such as this letter writer will refuse to see that the system of governmental charity that’s been established over the last century is unsustainable.

    I can use my calculator to prove the system is going to collapse sooner rather than later. The question is: can we have a controlled ditching or are we going to plow straight into the mountain?

  3. tree_guy says:

    Liz, you don’t want your area of interest to be cut yet you neglect to mention what area you would like to have cut. You do understand that an inelastic supply of money cannot fund an elastic demand …don’t you?

  4. Perhaps we can impose as many taxes on the Korums of this
    state as there are cuts to the poor and needy. It wouldn’t
    be hard to do if the politicians in Olympia had any guts.
    It would make the budget pencil out much more easily.

  5. Oh, good lord. What a bunch of pusillanimous whiners. The fact is that the total state and local tax burden in this state is less than in most other states – we rank 29th out of the 50 states.

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/486.html

  6. commoncents says:

    Budgets have to drop. That, unfortunately, will leave a lot of departments and programs with minimal (or no) funding. That’s the state of the economy right now…we are in recovery mode and taxes and incomes for govt entities are lagging that of the real economy. It’s sad and wrong but it’s reality.

  7. sumyungboi says:

    The government at all levels have to stop trying to be all things to all people. Folks like the letter writer, social workers, are in many cases as enslaved by government as the poor people who live within the culture of handouts, and it’s gotta stop. It’s an old cliche, but very true, when government subsidizes a thing, society gets more of that thing, and when being poor isn’t all that uncomfortable, more people will become poor.

  8. Misunderestimated says:

    Ah, come on, just keep spending like we have been.
    It will all sort itself out once those checks start bouncing.
    Surely your children and grandchildren will adjust to soup lines and begging the Chinese to take Hawaii and Alaska in exchange for our staggering debt.
    Yes, fund it all…

  9. ” New Americans Program”? Is that code-speak for illegal aliens? Enough already! If they can’t afford to live here, they need to go back home, and take their national flags with them.

  10. BlaineCGarver says:

    When ‘Crats say “cuts” it’s a cinch that the increase they wanted to see was cut a bit….the budget never goes down…never.

  11. BlaineCGarver says:

    Twenty years NO ONE was dying for lack of a safety net. Adjust for inflation, and set the budget as it was 20 years ago….Holy Crap, you’ll have money galore if you’d use it wisely.

  12. itwasntmethistime says:

    So now the “most vulnerable” are immigrants? Last week it was the mentally ill and substance abusers. Before that it was the elderly and shortly before that it was school children. They need to have a summit to determine, once and for all, who the “most vulnerable” are.

  13. concernedtacoma7 says:

    I vote for the honest, hard-working, taxpaying citizen.

  14. PumainTacoma says:

    itwasntmethistime YES the bar keeps moving!

    Here is a reality check. Everyone is vulnerable. Stop smoking, stop drinking, eat right, walk, read, and stop asking everyone else to pay for your choices in life and your health care. Get use to it, because it is going to get worse. Gas $4.50, increase food prices, more taxes for museums, 911 radios(when operators ignore you), pretty soon to breathe you will pay a tax and forget about flushing the toilet once TPU starts increasing its sewage rates… This County and State are screwed.

  15. itwasntmethistime says:

    Any guesses as to who will be “most vulnerable” next week? (I mean, of course, besides honest, hard-working taxpayers, ct7.) Will it be newly released prisoners? Children from single-parent homes? Kids who didn’t go to pre-school?

  16. harleyrider1 says:

    Let’s be honest here. Never in the history of the state of Washington has funding to take care of our disabled people ever been a “threat” to the sound fiscal policies the Washington Democrats put in place annually.

    Oh, that’s right. Democrats have opposed a mandatory balanced budget amendment for years. They just spend, spend, spend and demand new fees and higher taxes. Then when the voters say enough, they say, well we can no longer help the old and the disabled. We’ll probably have to cut funding for your police too.

    It’s not their fault. No, it really isn’t. Washington voters love to elect big spenders, see their politicians fly to Asia to find “sister” cities, fund studies, under-fund pensions, and constantly fight each other to find more money. Year after year.

    Our “part-time” legislatures are getting paid full-time salaries. Why would you – the voter – approve that? Some of these guys have never had a full-time job; they don’t own businesses, they don’t work.

    Let’s make a change. Let’s not vote automatically for who our union or party tells us too. Let’s look at each person and see if they have voted to not help the disabled, to not help the elderly. Let’s look at their spending record. Do they believe in a balanced budget? Have they shown they can reach across the aisle, compromise to help get the right program, the best program in place for us? Stop electing my way or the highway politicians. We cannot afford them. It’s stressful.

    We have a chance this fall to start over, to do the right thing. Write the names down now of these politicians that are not helping the disabled and under-funding pensions. Write down the names of those that refuse to compromise. Tape that paper up on the refrigerator and tell your family, friends, and visitors. Then help rebuild our society by electing people with a moral compass, people that do not see themselves as being more important than the ones that sent them there.

    You are the employer – not them. They have forgotten.

  17. commoncents says:

    Instead of talking about electing people with a moral compass, how about talking about electing people who have the same fiscal policy as you do. Everyone’s morals are different and if you elect based only on those morals you will be sorely disappointed when the electee fails to live up to your expectations; which they inevitably will.

    As for my way or the highway…as far as I can tell we have 3 members in our senate who do not meet that criteria. Compromise is not voting with the opposition on the no brainers only to hold the party line on every critical issue. I live in Kastama’s district…while I don’t necessarily agree with his stance – I at least know that I have a senator who will compromise when he feels it’s appropriate which is what I voted him in to do. Can everyone else say the same thing?

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