UWPNW Washington Legislative Update - October 13, 2020

Our challenging year continues to test us in our unique roles to improve the common good in our communities and state. Read on to learn about how the United Ways of the Pacific Northwest (UWPNW) engagement in statewide coalitions seeks to align our policy priorities with the urgent need to tackle both COVID effects and racial equity concerns. 

The Families Tax Credit as COVID Relief
Since 2018, Washington United Ways have targeted state funding for the Working Families Tax Credit. Passed in 2008 when the recession prevented its funding, the Working Families Tax Credit has never activated. As part of a coalition, UWPNW has worked to pivot the tax credit focus into a COVID support and recovery approach that would provide a recovery rebate to low and moderate income families. This rebate would put cash assistance directly into the hands of families at a critical time. It would also help spur community spending to benefit local businesses, help balance tax fairness and set the stage for the Legislature to finally fund the Working Families Tax Credit. Here’s more information.

Keeping Child Care Solvent During COVID
The COVID crisis, along with the renewed spotlight on racial inequities, has made the work of the Early Learning Action Alliance (ELAA) even more essential as it advocates for COVID funds to help the child care industry remain solvent and available for working parents. As this Crosscut article shows, child care was already a crisis for parents, employers and child care provider businesses. This recent Office of Financial Management letter details the results of this advocacy. For the past few years, Paul Knox has represented member United Ways on the ELAA steering committee.

Governor Extends COVID Relief Moratorium on Evictions
On Friday, Governor Inslee extended the moratorium on evictions through December 31, 2020. UWPNW has been engaged and supportive of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance advocacy for this moratorium as well as for financial support for out of work renters and their landlords.

COVID Recession Effect Not as Dire as Initially Predicted
Washington’s revenue picture has improved substantially from the COVID-colored June forecast but is still below the February forecast that the Governor and Legislature used to formulate the current state budget. At the beginning of this summer, the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council projected that revenues through June 30, 2021 (the end of this budget cycle) would fall below expectations by more than $4.5 billion. This news prompted Governor Inslee to veto some budget items and institute a hiring freeze and reduction in employee hours (furloughs). The improved revenue forecast means there will likely not be another legislative session until the regularly scheduled one in January 2021. Next session may very likely be conducted with a heavy use of virtual meeting technologies. UWPNW will keep you apprised of major developments. In the meantime, please use those technologies and other means to stay in touch with your legislators about the needs you see in your community and to share the good work your local United Way is doing.


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