by Marilyn Watkins
As tax revenues fall with people out of work and whole industries shuttered, Washington’s state and local governments are laying off staff, reducing pay, and slashing services that are helping people weather the COVID storm. Cutting important services now will cause immediate suffering, prolong the recession, and deepen racial and economic inequity.
We need our state legislators and other elected officials to have the courage to raise new taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, then reinvest that money in health care, secure housing, child care, educational opportunity, and income support for people and small businesses who are struggling for survival.
Continue reading Washington Can’t Afford Austerity
by Emily Vyhnanek and Margaret Babayan
(This piece was originally published on the Washington State Budget & Policy Center blog.)
COVID-19 has exposed just how many people across the state were one paycheck away from being unable to meet their basic needs. People who were experiencing economic hardship before this crisis are falling further behind. Federal action to expand unemployment protections and provide stimulus payments were important first steps, but too many people — especially undocumented workers — were excluded, and much more needs to be done to ensure everyone can meet their needs while staying safe.
Continue reading OPINION: Lawmakers Must Invest in a Cash Stimulus for the People Who Drive Our Economy
by Carolyn Bick
Washington State’s stay-home order will now remain in place until May 31, in order to continue to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the state works in four phases to return to relative normalcy.
The state has been under a stay-home order since late March. Though the order was supposed to be lifted on May 4, Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press conference on May 1 that though there has been some “good news,” regarding the slowed spread of the virus, the data simply doesn’t support fully opening up the state yet. As of April 30, there have been 14,327 confirmed cases and 814 deaths.
Continue reading Gov. Jay Inslee Extends Stay-Home Order to May 31, Unveils Phased Reopening Plan
by Carolyn Bick
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee said the state will not be able to lift all current movement restrictions and distancing measures by May 4.
In a televised announcement on April 21, Inslee said that the return to normalcy will be guided by science and data, and will be “more like a turning of a dial than the flip of a switch.” He said that these decisions will be based on healthcare modeling, which currently shows a plateau in new novel coronavirus cases, as well as carefully monitoring how the spread of the virus responds, after easing some restrictions.
Continue reading Inslee Announces Broad Plans to Reopen Washington State’s Economy, Including Rapid Response Team